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22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
10 Peng Zhou (CHN)
25/11/2021
News
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Stacked and star-studded China focused to go all out for Qualifiers

BEIJING (China) - There is no nonsense with this China national team that are about to take the court in the upcoming days for their first games of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.

"I haven’t paid much attention," Wu Qian said of what his fans told him ahead of the double-header against Japan in Window 1.

Wu is a national team veteran and the reigning Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) MVP and his serious demeanor is exactly what you would expect from a player of his caliber.

While Wu does thank his fans for their support and promises to repay them with high-standard performances come game time, his focus is unwavering.

"My attention is more on the court."

His - and Team China’s - goals are straightforward.

"Go all out to win and hope to play well."

 

"Go all out to win and hope to play well."

Another former CBA MVP, Wang Zhelin is more direct about what he expects from the team.

"[We hope] to win every game," said the former 2016 NBA draft pick.

This is the level of intensity you can come to expect from any China national team that takes the court, especially with the level of talent that has been assembled for these two important games on the road.

The impressive list of players expands far beyond the likes of only Wu and Wang.

There’s Zhou Qi, the 2017 NBA draft pick and three-time CBA Defensive Player of the year who has been playing in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).

Superstar point guard Guo Ailun was also named to be on the team as the 28-year-old has regularly been for the past decade.

China will also have Sun Minghui, the rapidly improving guard that’s taking the CBA by storm for Zhejiang Guabgsha Lions along with partner in crime big man, Hu Jinqiu, who is also on this national team roster.

Then there’s Abudushalamu Abudurexiti, the 25-year-old forward who has been tearing up opponents in the CBA as well after returning from an injury.

China doesn’t have the privilege of World Cup qualification as hosts for the 2023 edition of the competition as they did back in 2019, so it’s no surprise that they are stacking up as much talent that they have in their pool.

After missing out on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, China wants to come of the gates roaring. Especially against an opponent like Japan.

"Japan are fast and clever," Abudurexiti said. "We need to play to our own height, rebounding, defense advantages."

"I hope that we can win the two matches to rebuild the image of the Team China, qualify to compete in the World Cup and the Olympics."

As is the case with most games at this high-level of competition, China’s task to beat Japan won’t be a walk in the park. Even with all the talent amassed, there are still some pieces moving into place for China such as rising prospect Zhang Zhenlin, who only made his senior national team debut this year, and Zhao Rui, who has been away from senior national team duty for quite some time.

"It has been two years since I played for Team China," said Zhao. "First of all, I want to do my best and learn from my teammates who already played against Japan [at the Asia Cup Qualifiers]. I hope they can give me more advice and help me deal with unexpected situations on the court."

That’s another strong point that China hopes will play to their advantage in the pair of games this weekend. Seven of the players on the preliminary roster were a part of the Asia Cup Qualifiers team that beat Japan twine in the Clark bubble earlier this year.

"I think there is no problem [in the team building]," added another promising guard talent, Zhao Jiwei. "Playing in the summer together created a certain foundation."

That chemistry will be important for a relatively young team. There’s a lot of youth in the team for this window with only two players over 30 years old so head coach Du Feng is also expecting for these games to further sharpen the skills of these young guns.

"Through these two international games, the young players can gain international experience and better inherit from the old to the young," said coach Du.

The intensity and seriousness of this national team is evident, but, in the end, this is what China expects from themselves. This is the norm that should be expected.

If it wasn’t clear enough how serious China are going to be taking the World Cup Qualifiers, let’s have Guo Ailun emphasize one more time what goals he expects to achieve.

"Go all out."

FIBA