Mainland China stepped into the foray of ABL competition for the 2017-2018 season with the inclusion of the Nanhai Kung Fu, and though the team is making their debut in the league, the roster consists of many experienced professionals, especially by way of locals from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
The team was originally introduced into the league as the Nanhai Longlions, but has since opted for a name change to the Kung Fu just a few weeks prior to the start of ABL 8.
The Nanhai Kung Fu have been confirmed to be the developmental team of the Guangzhou Longlions out of the CBA which explains their player depth. The ABL platform allows for the continued development and growth of younger players who may not see as much action in their illustrious domestic league. The team last saw action in the ASEAN region during the summer when they competed at the 2017 Seri Mutiara Cup which was held in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia, following the conclusion of the SEA Games. Players from the Longlions that have made the move onto the Kung Fu for ABL 8 include locals Zhang Xiaolei, Luo Yongxuan, Guo Kai, Wang Yue, and Shi Jun, along with world import Anthony Tucker.
The Nanhai Kung Fu have length… lot’s of it.
In addition to the expansion team fielding a large group of players with high levels of basketball experience, the Nanhai Kung Fu will also be aided by length as 11 players measure at over 190 centimeters. Of those 11 players, four measure in at over 200 centimeters, including the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Justin Howard.
Professional experience is strong among the local pool, but limited in the ASEAN heritage imports department.
The Nanhai Kung Fu feature two ASEAN heritage imports that lack much professional experience in Filipino-Canadian guard, Jonathan Bermillo, out oF U Sports’ (Canada’s version of the NCAA) Bishop’s University, and Filipino-American forward, Caelan Tiongson, from NCAA DII’s Biola University. In fact, both players are literally rookies as they have just finished playing for their respective alma-maters this past 2016-2017 season.
Don’t sleep on Anthony Tucker.
Bringing in decorated big man and ABL veteran Justin Howard is a big deal. He’s the defending Defensive Player of the Year and a double-double threat night in and night out afterall, but having a veteran guard in Anthony Tucker as Kung Fu’s second world import will pay dividends. Not only can Tucker put the ball through the hoop, but he should be able to match well against a talented guard-heavy league which seems to be a big part of the recipe for success in the ABL moving forward.
(Center, World Import)
2016-2017 ABL Season Stats
24 Games | 24.5 PPG | 18.3 RPG | 2.5 APG | 51% FG | 1.2 BPG | 4.3 TOPG
(Forward, ASEAN Import)
2016-2017 NCAA DII Season Stats
28 Games | 13.2 PPG | 6.2 RPG | 1.8 APG | 53% FG | 0.8 STPG | 1.5 TOPG
(Guard, ASEAN Import)
2016-2017 U Sports Season Stats
16 Games | 13.4 PPG | 2.6 RPG | 4.0 APG | 43% FG | 26% 3P | 2.1 STPG | 3.1 TOPG
The 2017-2018 ABL season will be the Formosa Dreamers’ first year of competition in the league.
(Guard, World Import)
2016-2017 Turkish League Season Stats
32 Games | 19.6 PPG | 3.4 RPG | 4.4 APG | 49% FG | 46% 3P | 0.9 STPG | 2.5 TOPG
LOCAL TO WATCH
A small forward who has great athleticism. He was the top pick of last year’s CBA draft which goes to show his CBA-readiness candidacy. Guo Kai couldn’t make it onto the GuangZhou Longlions, simply because they already have better options in their front line this year, however many Chinese fans actually deemed him worthy of a spot at GuangZhou.
Head Coach: Charles Bell
Local: #6 Zhang Xiaolei (206 cm, 91 kg)
Local: #11 Wang Yue (208 cm, 102 kg)
Local: #9 Tian Yuheng (196 cm, 80 kg)
Local: #36 Song Shuai (196 cm, 88 kg)
Local: #3 Shi Jun (193 cm, 90 kg)
Local: #10 Luo Yongxuan (193 cm, 88 kg)
Local: #27 Liu Zankun (196 cm, 80 kg)
Local: #14 Guo Kai (203 cm, 104 kg)
Local: #17 Hh Chongren (196 cm, 95 kg)
ASEAN Import: #12 Jonathan Bermillo (183 cm, 86 kg)
ASEAN Import: #5 Caelan Tiongson (196 cm, 93 kg)
World Import: #55 Justin Howard (211 cm, 117 kg)
World Import: #1 Anthony Tucker (193 cm, 91 kg)
Generally, the hype of expansion teams to any professional sporting league should be taken with a grain of salt, but the Nanhai Kung Fu aren’t your typical expansion team. They don’t have a lot of hype neither. The organization has been a bit camera shy regarding information on the team outside of Chinese media so we’ll really have to see how things play out in the first few weeks as far as team pecking orders go. However, the roster does look promising on paper so don’t be too surprised if they can ride that promise to success on the hardwood this season.