The new China Basketball Association season kicked off two months ago.
Many observers are keeping a close eye on Xinjiang’s squad, as the club is now home to a rising star which many are already dubbing the next Yao Ming.
Zhou Qi is a publicly-recognized “future star” in Chinese basketball.
With both parents being basketball players, he had the sport in his blood.
He says he got in touch with basketball in quite a natural way because of his family background.
“Since my childhood, because my parents played basketball, they have hoped that I can follow their steps. Actually at first I didn’t feel like loving basketball so much. But as time went by, I’ve gradually fallen in love with it.”
Zhou Qi’s first coach, Li Ming, realized he’s a talent at first sight and was determined to register him at his basketball school in China’s northeastern Liaoning province.
At 18-years-old, Zhou Qi had grown to 2.17 meters, the tallest in his team.
Moreover, he also demonstrated fantastic capabilities in rebounds, assists, interceptions and blocks, which have shocked the entire basketball circle.
He says he hopes to go further in his basketball career and even enter the NBA some day in the future.
“I do have this (NBA) dream. But I prefer to let it go naturally. Some day in the future, if I get the chance of playing in NBA, I will certainly catch it. It will be a fresh experience for me, from which I can learn a lot more.”
At the current stage, Zhou Qi has already learnt a lot from his two foreign teammates, Andray Blatche and Jordan Crawford, who recently joined the club from NBA.
“They’re quite easy to get along with, very easy-going. Especially Andray Blatche, he has taught me lots of things such as effective offending and defending skills, as well as other techniques.”
And he hopes to contribute more to the Xinjiang team in response to the enthusiasm from fans.
“The club has been the runner-up in CBA for a number of years in a row and our fans really want a change. I hope I can try my best to help Xinjiang get the champion position in this season.”
25 games into the season, Zhou Qi is averaging nearly 15 points per game with a 70% FG percentage and leads the league in blocks per game at 3.5 despite starting from the bench for half the games at the start of the season.
The upcoming CBA season lasts for three month from November 1 to February 1 next year.