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Basketball in China Part I: A Growing Force

By Li Zhenyu (People's Daily Online)

11:05, July 23, 2012

In basketball, China is generally recognized as the strongest nation in Asia, and earned the eighth place in the world in the last two Olympic Games. China's level of play is improving swiftly, and some believe the nation will be one of the top four teams in the world in about ten years.

In the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, the Chinese National Team captured the crown and booked a place for the London Olympics.

Team China: A Growing Force

China has traditionally been the No.1 basketball power in Asia, winning the FIBA Asia Championship 15 out of 19 times from 1975 to 2011.

Outside of Asia, the Chinese National Team has struggled against top-flight teams. However, in recent years, China has shown they can beat top European teams.

In the Athens 2004 Olympics, China advanced to the final eight after a 67-66 win over defending world champion Serbia and Montenegro. At the 2006 FIBA World Championship, China also earned two victories against Senegal and Slovenia, two basketball powers.

On the road to the London Olympics, the Chinese National Team dominated the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship — a nine-game romp that included eight victories by more than 10 points — and captured the crown in the final, securing a spot at the London Games.

Brian Goorjian, a renowned Australian basketball coach who has worked closely with the Chinese players, believes that China's the level of play is improving swiftly.

"In the last five years, I've seen a huge change in the development of Chinese players," said Goorjian. "The Chinese are getting experience from outside and taking it seriously."

Some even think China will be one of the top four teams in the world in about ten years.

"They're a good team and they'll continue to get better," said Mike Kryzewski, head coach of the U.S. Olympic team, when commenting the Chinese National Basketball Team. "They have too many resources and the passion to become better."

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