Great 'tall' of China: 7-foot-8 Sun eyes NBA
NBA scouts are already drooling over the next giant import from China.
Sun Ming Ming is China's latest NBA prospect, and at 7-foot-8 3/4, the 21-year-old is roughly two inches taller than former No. 1 pick Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.
If Sun is picked in the June NBA draft, his agent hopes he'll go to a team willing to develop Sun's skills. (News & Record / Joseph Rodriguez / Associated Press)
The Greensboro News & Record reports that Sun is working out in Greensboro for a shot at the NBA.
"With his size, that intrigues everybody," former NBA player Keith Gatlin told the News & Record after working out with Sun. "He can really shoot the ball to be that size. The challenge for him now is to get mobile, to get up and down the court."
The lure of the NBA is certainly exciting to the raw big man.
"I have more opportunities here," Sun told the News & Record through interpreter Hsiao-Yin Chu. "I have the opportunity to play with the best players in the world and get into good basketball."
Sun Ming Ming is roughly two inches taller than former No. 1 pick Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets. (News & Record / Joseph Rodriguez / Associated Press)
If Sun is picked in the June NBA draft, his agent Charles Bonsignore hopes he'll go to a team willing to develop Sun's skills and not immediately expect him to be the next Yao Ming. Trainer James Wilson has worked with Sun on his mobility for about five weeks and said Sun is young in terms of his training years.
"I treat him like he is a high school senior lifting weights," Wilson told the News & Record. "You build from that. ... There's a progression that you need to go."
And Sun has gotten comfortable in his new surroundings since arriving in North Carolina and staying with host family Rocky and Celeste Manning, friends of Gatlin's.
"He's been great," Rocky Manning told the News & Record. "He totally changed from when he first came here. He didn't seem that happy, but now he smiles and laughs and knows a couple hundred words in English. He's a very smart guy."
Sun will stay in the United States until May when he'll return to China to play in the national games with his club team. He is expected to return in June for the draft.
China has produced three tall players who are playing or have played in the NBA. There's 7-6 Ming, 7-1 Wang Zhizhi and 6-11 Mengke Bateer.
And there are more giants headed west, according to website of the Chinese national team.