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NBA: Zhou Qi selected 43rd overall by Houston


06-24-2016 16:10 BJT

The NBA is easily the most followed foreign circuit in this country -- with more than 100-million keeping tabs on the Association online in China. That love affair began when Yao Ming was drafted into the league more than a dozen years ago.

Well hoops fans in the world's most populous nation have another hero to follow -- as Zhou Qi has been selected in the second round of the NBA draft, with the Houston Rockets taking the Xinjiang center 43rd overall in the annual draft.

The announcement was made by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. The 20-year-old center is the country's first player taken in the draft since 2007. He has been playing with the CBA's Xinjiang Flying Tigers the last two years, where he helped the team make it to the final four in the league's playoffs.

Zhou has been training in Italy with the Chinese national team, to prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games. It is a fantasitc day for Zhou and his family, and the center's dad was ecstatic that his son was able to get picked by an NBA team. He spoke to CCTV exclusively. 

"He is very excited about being selected. Today is a big day for him and for me too. Right now his goal is improving his flexibility and speed. We are not worried too much about where he was actually picked. The NBA and its scouts have their own consideration. So where he was selected was not where we had expected he would be picked," said Zhou Jianwei, Zhou Qi's father.

And Zhou was not the only player from this country selected, as the Memphis Grizzlies chose another Chinese big man, Wang Zhelin of the Fujian Sturgeons 57th overall. The center only played in nine games because of a knee injury, but averaged 10 points and six boards for his CBA squad this past season.

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