Sunday, June 29, 2008

2008 SBL draft to be held on July 1

Chen Kuo-wei

Chen Kuo-wei (Courtesy of UBA)


A total of 56 players are in the field of the 2008 SBL local players draft and the second edition of local player draft will be held on July 1, the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) announced.

Several media outlets reported that Chen Kuo-wei, a 190cm forward from Taiwan Sports University in Taichung, is expected to be selected by Bank of Taiwan with the top pick.

Well, if this is true. It's kind of sad. Judged from what I have seen, Chen is at best a solid backup four in the SBL and now he is supposed to go No.1?

However, the situation has a lot to do with the draft rule. The university basketball federation has been in talks with the CTBA for years trying to come up with a plan to "seperate" the university players and professional players. It used to be like 90% of the pro players in Taiwan are college students and the university sports official wanted to change that.

In the proposed plan which has now in effect, only college seniors and those non-NT players are eligible for this year's draft. Which explains why Chen Kuo-wei, who's now a graduate student, is expected to be the top pick because he can play right away.

Wu Feng-cheng, last year's top pick, did not play a single minute for Bank of Taiwan this past season because he was only a sophomore when he was drafted.

Yeah, I know it's difficult to understand but here's the deal. In short, 22 of 87 applicants were drafted last year and only five of those drafted players actually played in the SBL due to the rule mentioned above.

The draft order this year will be the reverse order of the regular season finish: BOT at No.1 and followed by Taiwan Mobile, Dacin, Pure Youth, dmedia, Taiwan Beer and Yulon.

194cm forward Chung Shiou-nai, son of former BBC Mars (now known as Taiwan Mobile) head coach Chung Chi-meng, is in the draft which also included three overseas players: 193cm forward-guard Chang Jun-wei from the University of Toronto and a pair of Taiwanese Americans Kuo Yen-yu and Lee Pi-chuan.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 Jones Cup Athletes in Action roster

It has not been announced yet, but here's the U.S. AIA team roster I obtained from a friend of mine. AIA won the 2006 Jones Cup and finished for the 6th place last year under head coach Mike Jarvis, who now coaches the Florida Atlantic University.

After taking the first look at the roster, I think this is probably the strongest team the AIA has ever sent to Taiwan. And once again, it was led by a controversial coach as Dave Bliss was involved in the so-called scandal in Baylor University back in 2003.

Everyone needs a fresh start though. Here I'm hoping Taiwan can be the starting line for Bliss' career -- although he's not likely to have another chance to coach the Division I team again.


Athletes in Action roster for 2008 William Jones Cup

Head coach: Dave Bliss
Assistants: Nick Graham (Washington St.), Phil Bollier (Mill Creek HS, GA)

(Name, DOB, Ht./Wt., School)
Dane Brumagin  1986.8.9  193/88  UMKC  17.1p+4.8rb
Da'Sean Butler  1988.1.25  201/102  West Virginia  12.9p+6.2rb
Jamel McLean  1988.4.18  205/107  Xavier  (redshirt, Tulsa transfer)
Marcus Kitts  1989.1.31  206/95  William & Mary  2.4p
Laval Lucas-Perry  1989.3.15  186/88  Michigan  4p
Stephen McDowell  1985.7.19  185/82  Chattanooga  14.3p
Wellington Smith  197.5.1  201/97  West Virginia  5.2p+3.8rb
Brett Winkelman  1986.1.30  202/100  North Dakota State  19.2p+8.3rb
Benjamin Woodside  1985.7.1  186/84  North Dakota State  20.7p+5.1a
Manny Harris  1989.9.21  195/82  Michigan  16.1p+4.2rb

You can also read the full roster here (Brumagin Selected To U.S. Jones Cup Team). One thing to note though – Michigan’s Manny Harris was not on the list I obtained.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Go west, young men?

Chen Hsin-an's intention to play in China has become the hottest issue in Taiwanese basketball this past week as it stirred up heated discussion among fans on the current Taiwanese basketball environment. And the CTBA's response, a sanction on 24 local players prohibiting them to play for overseas clubs, didn't help either.

To maintain the competition level of the domestic league, the statement said, twenty four players will be listed on a "protection list" which will be released on an annual basis. The players on the list are not allowed to play overseas.

Individual players, however, will be screened by a CTBA committee after submitting their application to play for foreign clubs. The permission, once granted, allows a maximum one year's time and will have to be renewed every year.

The decision infuriated Chen and many fans. And it's easy to know why. Chen stressed that the CTBA is not entitled to block his right to play for anyone while most fans would like to see Chen play in a more competitive league.

Playing in China, where most NBA teams sent their scouts year round to observe talents, will provide an opportunity, regardless of how slim it is, for him to be seen. Which might lead to a chance to play in the NBA, said Chen.

Anyway, I think a lot of people missed the point here. Last I checked, Chen is still under contract with Yulon. Word is that he has two and a half years left on his contract. If Chen leaves Yulon, it will be the second time he leaves the team in the middle of his contract.

About two years ago, Chen also intended to leave Yulon and sign with ETSN for a much higher salary. Surprisingly, Yulon didn't say a word. However Chen failed to reach an agreement with ETSN and rejoined Yulon.

I don't really understand what is happening here. Fans and some newspapers said all the good thing about a player who has breached his contract not once but twice?

True, the CTBA has no right to keep players from signing with foreign clubs as long as these players are free agents. But it is also true that no basketball federation would love to see an exodus of the local players. It has gone too far with the 24-player sanction list, but it's not difficult to understand its concern that players of Chen's caliber opt to play in China either.

The reported offer of Chen's annual salary of 1.5M RMB (220,000 USD) looks overestimated because that's more than Wang Zhizhi's salary. And I doubt that Chen is willing to buy out his contract with 8M NT (260,000 USD) as no one wants to buy out his contrct for 10 dollars and go make eight dollars in China. It's a simple math. And it doesn't make sense to me at all.

What's interesting was that Chen said in a China Times interview which was published today that his objective is not playing in China but to point out the stagnant environment of Taiwanese basketball.

An Apple Daily story reported yesterday that Chen is still on NBA scouts' watch list. The story, which I thikn is very questionable, said that Chen is on the watch list of scouts from Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats but did not cite any source in the story.

Anyway, when all is said and done, Chen is staying with Yulon for now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chen Hsin-an eyes on China's CBA


(Photo source: Apple Daily)

A number of local newspapers quoted Yulon star forward Chen Hsin-an saying that Chen is interested in playing in China. The reasons, Chen said, are better salary and tougher competition level.

The United Daily reported that a team in Guangdong province, supposedly Guangdong Southern Tigers, has expressed interest in signing Chen, the Most Valuable Player of the 2007-08 SBL regular season.

If Chen does sign with a Chinese team, he will be the latest in a long line of Taiwanese players to step foot on China's Chinese Basketball Association.

Last season, Yen Hsin-shu and Wang Hsin-kai both played for Yunnan before coming back and played for Taiwan Beer. Yang Yu-min, who played for Dacin Tigers this past season, has signed with Jilin Northern Tigers.

Apple Daily estimated Chen will sign for an annual salary of 1.5 million RMB (6.6 million NT) as Yen reportedly signed a one year, one million RMB (4.4 million NT) contract. The figure, in my opinion, is questionable (overrated) though.

Former Taiwan NT star and current Taiwan Mobile head coach Cheng Chih-lung was the first male player to play in the CBA when he signed with Shanghai Sharks and teamed with Yao Ming in 1999.

However, Chen is under contract with Yulon Dinos. To play in China, he will probably have to buy out his contract and obtain the letter of clearance from both Yulon and Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), Taiwan's highest basketball governing body.

Apple Daily reported that Chen has to pay Yulon eight million NT to buy out his contract.

And both newspapers reported that the CTBA is likely to reject Chen's request, fearing a domino effect will lead to an exodus of Taiwanese basketball players.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The SBL has trouble finding a home court

China Times reported that the SBL, which is entering its 6th season, is having trouble finding a venue to host all the games in the 2008-09 season.

It looks like there are only two options for the league, which hosted a large portion of its games in Taipei City and nearby Taipei County during the past five years, the report said, pointing out that the league has to either move all the games to other cities or suspend the entire season.

Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium (TPEC Gym), where the SBL games were played in 2004-2007, has been demolished and a brand new dome is being built in the same location. The construction forced the league to move its games to Singjhuang Stadium in Taipei County last season. Problem is, the stadium will be undergoing renovation as well from December 2008 - April 2009.

Guess what? The third (and not-so-good) option, Taipei Municipal Stadium (with a mere 2,000 capacity) will be renovated too! The earliest date of its re-opening will be January 2009.

Which is why the league has to at least move the regular season games to southern cities, something the league and the teams have been reluctantly to do in the past. The answer is simple: it costs them more money to pay for the transportation and accommodation although SBL games have been always very popular outside of Taipei area.

A basketball league in Taiwan, a country ranked around 30th in the world in terms of the naitonal GDP (PPP) per capita, has trouble finding a venue to play in? Can you believe that? That's embarrassing. And that tells you how short-sighted these "basketball people" have been for all these years.

Fans have been calling for the CTBA, the teams and the government to build a nice basketball facility in Taipei area. The truth is we do have some nice basketball arenas in Taipei, such as the Taipei Arena and the National Taiwan University Gymnasium, but the rent were simply too high.

According to the CTBA, the China Times story said, possible host cities for the next season including Taichung City, Miaoli City (Miaoli County), Jhubei City (Hsinchu County), and Hualien City (Hualien County).

For a league that has enjoyed relative success in a traditionally basketball-crazy country, the news is simply unbelievable and sad.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Taiwan women's NT kisses goodbye to Beijing

Taiwan women's NT lost to Belarus 81-65 in the second group game of the 2008 Olympics Qualifiers and crashed out of the tournament with no chance of securing a spot in the Beijing Olympics.

Nobody really gave this team a chance in the qualifiers, and the draw was not in Taiwan's favor, but losing two games by a combined 33 points looked like unacceptable to me -- especially when you know that the CTBA scrapped the whole women's basketball season so the national team could progress with its training schedule.

As was the case in the Asian Championship, this team was able to give you a very good 20 minutes but was always unable to hold on to a lead or hang in there with its opponents in both games.

Teams with at least one win in the group games advanced to the quarterfinal and will have to fight for the five remaining spots of the Olympics.

Final eight: Latvia, Czech, Brazil, Cuba (all 2-0), Angola, Japan, Spain, Belarus (1-1)
Out: Taiwan, Fiji, Senegal, Argentina game recap:
BLR/TPE – Belarus advance to quarter-finals with win over Chinese Taipei
MADRID (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament) – Chinese Taipei made things awkward, but Belarus prevailed 81-65 to progress to the quarter-finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women.

Upset by Cuba in their first Group D game, Belarus had to win on Wednesday to avoid elimination.

Chinese Taipei, who led Cuba in the second half before running out of steam, hit back from an early 7-2 deficit to lead 14-10.

A jump shot in the lane by Volha Padabed sparked an 8-2 run for Belarus and put them on top for good although they did not pull away.

A jumper by Lin Chi-Wen with 7:24 to play cut the Belarus advantage to 57-52.

They would get no closer.

Belarus out-rebounded Chinese Taipei 50-30.

The winners got 13 points apiece from Olga Masilionene, Yelena Leuchanka and Tatyana Troina.

A win against Brazil on Friday in the quarter-finals will give the Belarus women a spot in the Olympics for the first time.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Olympic Women’s qualifier: Taiwan lost to Cuba


Taiwan head coach Hung Ling-yao. (

Chiang Feng-chun and Lin Hui-mei on defense. (

Taiwan women’s NT lost to Cuba 96-79 in the opening game of the 2008 Olympics Qualifiers, which is being held in Madrid, Spain.

Once again, Taiwan had a very good first half but had trouble to finish the game off. Led by three points early in the third quarter, Taiwan couldn’t stop Cuba’s inside and outside attack in the final 20 minutes, which turned into a rout. Taiwan trailed by as many as 21 points in the final period.

Veteran Chien Wei-chuan led Taiwan with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Chiang Feng-chun followed with 16 and Cheng Hui-yun had 13 points and 5 boards. Point guard Wen Chi had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

The team actually shot well, shooting 49.2% as a team, but Cuba was even better at 50%. Taiwan obviously was hurt by its 21 turnovers.

Taiwan will have to beat its next opponent Belarus on June 11 to make the quarterfinal round. Another loss means Taiwan will be saying goodbye to Beijing. game recap:

CUB/TPE – Cubans pushed hard but finally pull away

MADRID (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) – Cuba have serious designs on reaching the Beijing Games but they almost came unstuck against Chinese Taipei on Monday.

Alberto Zabala’s team led 52-51 midway through the third quarter but finally woke up and beat the opponents from the Far East 96-79.

Yakelyn Plutin had 19 points and 13 rebounds but the Cubans’ biggest contribution came from the red-hot three-point shooter Suchitel Avila, a player who will have a statue erected in her honour back in Havana if she continues to play as she did on Monday.

Avila erupted for 15 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter when Cuba finally put away their opponents.

She buried four of six shots from behind the arc and also grabbed five rebounds.

Cuba will take on Belarus on Tuesday and Chinese Taipei will face the same opponents on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

More Taiwan-China basketball interchanges

yang yu-min

(Yang Yu-min, courtesy of ESPN Taiwan)

Ex-Taiwan NT guard Yang Yu-min signed with Jilin Northeast Tigers and became the first Taiwanese player to sign with a Chinese basketball club this year, China Times reported.

Yang, who joined SBL’s Dacin Tigers after four years with ETSN Antelopes (now known as dmedia Numen), averaged only 4.9 points and 1.2 assists this past season due to persistent ankle injury. He averaged for more than 15 points per game with the Antelopes during the past four seasons.

Yang was also a key reserve with the national team before his injury. He will report to the team for the CBA pre-season training camp, which is held in Yunnan, China from June 12 – July 17.

United Daily reported that veteran coach Tsai Shou-li, who coached Taiwan NT and Hungfu Rams in Taiwan’s defunct pro league Chinese Basketball Alliance (CBA), has reached a one-year agreement with China’s Yunnan Bulls.

Former Dacin head coach Liu Chia-fa, who was relieved of his duty before the 2007-08 SBL season, has been in talks with Fujian Xunxing but there’s no done deal yet.

A number of Taiwanese players are also looking for opportunities to play in China, the report said. Chou Tzu-hua and Lin Kwan-lun, both from dmedia, are possible to sign with Yunnan, where Taiwan Beer guards Yen Hsin-shu and Wang Hsin-kai played last year.

I’m not sure whether these players will finish their season with Chinese clubs once contracts are signed because they are also under contracts with their Taiwanese teams at the same time. And basketball seasons in Taiwan and China overlap.

UBC wins 2008 Kainan Invitational

University of British Columbia from Canada beat University of Toronto 75-48 to win the seven-team 2008 Kainan International Basketball Invitational.

Taiwan Sports University beat host Kainan University in the bronze medal game.

Permanent domain name set

I have purchased a domain name and set it up. The original URL will in the future be redirected to the custom domain. Both URLs work so there won’t be any trouble.

You can also visit which is my backup blog site.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Players report to Jones Cup NT training camp

Players reported to the 35-day training camp for the 2008 Jones Cup tournament, the only major basketball event this year for Taiwan NT, on June 3.

Once again, they will be led by veteran Korean head coach Chung Kwon Suk, who led Taiwan to a 6th place finish last year in last year's Asian Championship.

However, Chung will inherit a team without the big-name players, among them Tien Lei, Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chih-chieh, who all pulled out of the national team due to injury.

Players who are out of the 2008 Taiwan NT included Chen Hsin-an, Tien Lei, Lin Chih-chieh, Tseng Wen-ting, Wu Tai-hao, Ho Shou-cheng, Chen Shih-nian, Chen Chih-chung and Chang Chih-feng. All of them were core players of the national squad in the past five years.

Taiwanese-American James Mao, who was going to be called up as a replacement player, could not play in the Jones Cup either because of right foot injury.

That means the 2008 Taiwan NT will be a young and inexperinced team which consists mostly those who had less than three years of international competition experience.

The original 24-man team is now down to 16 players which are listed as follow:

Taiwan Beer: Yang Chin-min, Hsu Hao-cheng
Yulon: Lee Chi-yi, Yang Che-yi, Lee Hsueh-lin, Lu Cheng-ju
dmedia: Ouyang Ching-heng
Dacin: Yue Yin-li, Lee Feng-yong, Chen Tzu-wei, Wang Chih-chun
Pure Youth: Chien Chia-hong, Wu Chian-lung, Lin Chin-pang
Bank of Taiwan: Hsu Chih-chan

Former Taiwan NT players Cheng Chih-lung and Chou Jun-san will serve as assistants.

Ten teams are expected to play in the men's competition in the 2008 Jones Cup, which will be played in Sinjhuang Stadium, Taipei County next month. The tourney is scheduled to tip off on July 10 but the participating teams and the game schedule have yet to be announced by the CTBA.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Joe Alexander...from Taiwan

With the No. 11 pick, the Indiana Pacers select Joe Alexander...from Taiwan.

Well, it will be great to hear NBA Commish David Stern say that, although he will actually say Joe Alexander from West Virginia and although Alexander is 100% American.

Nevertheless, according to the NBA's method of identifying players' nationalities, the 6-8 junior forward from West Virginia University will be listed as coming from Taiwan, which has yet produced any NBA player.

According to Wikipedia:

Born in Taiwan, and until he was a junior in high school, Alexander lived in Taiwan and China while his parents worked for Nestle. He is fluent in Mandarin. He attended Beijing Shunyi International School from 1996-2001, where he started to play basketball. He became the top scorer in 2000-2001 Nike CHBL (Chinese High School) League's Beijing Division.

The predicted Alexander, who announced he would enter this year's NBA Draft without hiring an agent, as a lottery pick -- going as high as No. 11 to the Indiana Pacers.

The talented and athletic swingman, who was born in Taiwan in 1986 when his father worked for Nestle Taiwan, said he would love to return for another year with his teammates but it looked like he would go pro after all, if he lands in the lottery.

Taiwanese basketball fans' dream will come true on that particular day, period.

Related links about Joe: prospect profile
WVU profile profile
Wikipedia profile

(Photo source: WVU)

2008 Kainan University International Basketball Invitational

A friend of mine reminded me that the tournament is going on in Taoyuan. Seven teams, including four from local universities and three from abroad, are playing in the 2008 Kainan University International Basketball Invitational, which is held in Luzhu Township, Taoyuan County, 20 kilometers south of Taipei, from June 2-5.

Participating teams:

Kainan University, Taiwan
National ChengChi University, Taiwan
National Sports University, Taiwan
National Central University, Taiwan
University of British Columbia, Canada
University of Toronto, Canada
Hyogo Prefectural University, Japan

There are a couple of Taiwanese universities holding international basketball tournaments every year, which is not an easy task because hosting the games would cost them some money. The interesting thing is, I find, these hosting schools are not big-time basketball schools or well-known universities. Their dedication and commitment surely deserve press coverage.