Sunday, December 27, 2009

Taiwanese players in China

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(Chen Hsin-an, left and Lin Chih-chieh, source: Apple Daily)

According to Apple Daily, stats of five Taiwanese players currently playing in China are as follow. They are probably making big bucks, but none of them is receiving enough playing time and making big impacts though.

Chen Hsin-an, Dongguan: 3.7p+1rb
Lin Chih-chieh, Zhejiang: 9p+4.3rb+2s
Yen Hsin-shu, Shanghai: 2a+1s
Hsu Hao-cheng, Shangxi: 1.5rb+1s
Lin Kwan-lun, Shanxi: 3.5p+1.5rb

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ESPN feature on Taiwanese U.S. college player Jeremy Lin

Immigrant dream plays out through son
Harvard's do-it-all star learned the game from his father and a host of NBA legends

O'Neil By Dana O'Neil

ncb_a_lin15_600 STORRS, Conn. -- The jump hook he used to score his first bucket of the game? That came from Kareem.

The perfect form on his jumper? Larry Bird deserves credit for that.

The power end-to-end drive with a dunk to finish? Vintage Dr. J.

The sweet dribble penetration and kickout? Score one for Magic.

As Jeremy Lin dissected and bisected Connecticut to the tune of 30 points Sunday afternoon, his father sat in front of a computer screen on the other side of the country, watching his videotape library of NBA greats come to life in the form of his son.

All those years Gie-Ming Lin spent rewinding his tapes so he could teach himself how to play a game he never even saw until he was an adult? All those hours spent in the local Y with his boys, schooling them in fundamentals over and over, building muscle memory without even knowing what the term meant? That silly dream, the one in which his children would fall in love with basketball as much as he had?

There it was, borne out in a gym in Storrs, Conn.

"Every time he did something good, they'd play it over and over again," Gie-Ming said from his home in Palo Alto, Calif. "I kept watching, and they kept showing him."

Soon the rest of the college basketball world might be turning its collective eye toward Jeremy Lin. Think about what the senior has done just this week for Harvard, which is off to its best start (7-2) in 25 years.

In keeping his team in the game right to the end, Lin scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 9 boards in a 79-73 loss to No. 12 UConn. Then, in the Crimson's 74-67 upset at Boston College on Wednesday -- the second straight season Harvard has beaten BC -- Lin contributed 25 points.

ncb_i_lin12_400 So in two games against New England's annual NCAA tournament participants, Lin scored 55 points and shot 64 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.

He boasts an all-around repertoire rarely on display. Last season Lin was the only player in the nation to rank among the top 10 players in his conference in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and 3-point percentage.

This year? He is merely second in the Ivy League in scoring (18.6 points), 10th in rebounding (5.3), fifth in field goal percentage (51.6 percent), third in assists (4.6), second in steals (2.4), sixth in blocked shots (1.2) and top of the pile in turning the heads of esteemed basketball minds, including Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun.

"I've seen a lot of teams come through here, and he could play for any of them," the longtime UConn coach said of Lin. "He's got great, great composure on the court. He knows how to play."

And he learned how to play thanks to his father's determination.

Jeremy is not the product of some Marv Marinovich in high-tops, desperate to cultivate the perfect basketball player, but rather a 5-foot-6 immigrant who long ago fell in love with a game and realized that in that game, his own children could gain entry into mainstream America.

Gie-Ming Lin was born in Taiwan, where academics were stressed and athletics ignored. He caught an occasional glimpse of basketball and, for reasons he can't explain, was immediately smitten with the game.

He dreamed of coming to the United States for two reasons: to complete his Ph.D. and "to watch the NBA."

That happened in 1977 when Gie-Ming enrolled at Purdue University for his doctorate in computer engineering. He flipped on the television, and there it was: the NBA in all its late-1970s glory. Kareem, Moses and Dr. J, with Jordan, Bird and Magic waiting in the wings.

"My dad," Jeremy said, "is a complete basketball junkie."

ncb_e_lin11_600 Gie-Ming's first job took him to Los Angeles, where the grueling demands and long hours had him searching for some sort of athletic release.

"I thought it would be great to play basketball," Gie-Ming said.

Only problem? He didn't have the slightest idea how. He had never picked up a ball in his life.

So he turned his attention back to those gripping NBA games. Armed with videotapes of his favorite players, Gie-Ming studied the game with the same fervor he studied for his Ph.D.

"I would just imitate them over and over; I got my hook shot from Kareem," Gie-Ming said, laughing.

It took him years to feel comfortable enough to play in a pickup game, and as he bided his time he decided then -- long before he even had children -- that his own kids would grow up knowing the game from an early age.

When first-born Joshua turned 5, Gie-Ming carted him to the local Y to begin teaching him those valuable skills stored on his videotapes.

Jeremy followed, and then youngest brother Joseph joined in what became a three-nights-a-week routine. The boys would finish their homework and around 8:30 head to the Y with their father for 90 minutes of drills or mini-games.

Forget that all of the players on those videos had long since retired, that the guy with Kareem's hook shot wouldn't hit Abdul-Jabbar's armpit. Gie-Ming recognized what so many other youth coaches have forgotten over time: The foundation for success is the basics.

"I realized if I brought them from a young age it would be like second nature for them," Gie-Ming said. "If they had the fundamentals, the rest would be easy."

ncb_a_lin14_400 His passion soon became their passion, and as the boys grew up, those 90-minute sessions would turn into wee-hour wars, with the boys scrounging for whatever gym they could find to play.

Joshua would star at Henry M. Gunn High School. Jeremy would enroll at rival Palo Alto High, where Joseph is now a senior.

Jeremy was special. He had his father's passion, his own inner motivation and a frame that would sprout to 6-foot-3. A good enough scorer to play 2-guard, Jeremy also was a savvy enough playmaker -- thanks to his dad and Magic -- to play the point. He's a solid outside shooter, but his dad, Julius and Kareem conspired to give him a reliable game around the rim.

In other words, he was otherworldly, a kid so talented that his freshman coach stood up at the team banquet and declared, "Jeremy has a better skill set than anyone I've ever seen at his age."

Named to the varsity as a freshman, Jeremy would earn honors as sophomore of the year and two-time most valuable player in his league.

Immersed in the game as he was, Jeremy never thought he was anything but a normal kid who liked basketball.

Until, that is, the insults came at him, the taunts to go back to China or open his eyes.

He was an Asian-American basketball player, an oddity and a curiosity in the cruel world of high school, where nothing is safer than being like everyone else.

"It was definitely a lot tougher for me growing up," he said. "There was just an overall lack of respect. People didn't think I could play."

His father offered sage advice.

"I told him people are going to say things to him, but he had to stay calm and not get excited by these words; they are only words," Gie-Ming said. "I told him to just win the game for your school and people will respect you."

Once more, Gie-Ming was right. In his senior season Jeremy averaged 15 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals, leading Palo Alto to a 32-1 record and a stunning 51-47 victory over nationally ranked Mater Dei in the CIF Division II state championship game.

Along the way, he converted some of the people who had mocked him. When Palo Alto played Mater Dei, students from both Jeremy's high school and rival Henry M. Gunn High crowded a local pizza joint to cheer for Jeremy and his team.

Converting people outside Northern California was more difficult. By his senior season, Lin was the runaway choice for player of the year by virtually every California publication. Yet he didn't receive a single Division I scholarship offer.

Lin doesn't know why, but believes his ethnicity played a part.

Asian-Americans make up just 0.4 percent of Division I basketball rosters, according to the latest NCAA numbers. That equates to 20 players out of 5,051.

Harvard offered an education with a hefty price tag. (The Ivy League offers no athletic scholarships.) But it also offered the chance to play Division I ball. So Lin went without hesitation.

Four extremely successful years into his college career, he now finds himself packaged into an uncomfortable box. Lin is at once proud and frustrated with his place as the flag-bearer for Asian-American basketball players.

The Harvard uniform, the Asian background, it all still makes Jeremy something of a novelty. What he longs for most of all is to be a basketball player.

Not an Asian-American basketball player, just a basketball player.

"Jeremy has been one of the better players in the country for a while now," said Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, who, as a Duke graduate and former head coach at both Seton Hall and Michigan, knows a thing or two about talent. "He's as consistent as anyone in the game. People who haven't seen him are wowed by what they see, but we aren't. What you see is who he is."

But stereotypes die hard and remain propagated by the ignorant. At UConn, as Jeremy stepped to the free throw line for the first time, one disgraceful student chanted, "Won-ton soup."

"I do get tired of it; I just want to play," Lin said. "But I've also come to accept it and embrace it. If I help other kids, than it's worth it."

In their 109-year history, the Crimson have never won an Ivy League title and have managed only three second-place finishes. They have had just one league player of the year -- Joe Carrabino in 1984.

The last Harvard man to suit up in the NBA? Ed Smith in 1953.

Lin could change all of that, a thought that boggles the mind of the man who fell in love with a sport so many years ago.

"All this time he was growing up, I never thought about Jeremy playing in college or professionally," Gie-Ming said. "I just enjoyed watching him play. I'm just so proud of him and so happy for him. I told him my dream already has come true."

Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for and can be reached at

2009 EAG: Taiwan woman has no answer to China

Taiwan woman NT did not have an answer to powerful China for the second consecutive time in the East Asian Games title game, losing 83-58 in the 2009 EAG final Friday night.

Taiwan's confidence was high coming into the game after losing to China by only eight points in the preliminary. However China was not to be stopped Friday night, shooting 54% from the field and limited Taiwan’s offense down to 35%.

Taiwan was led by Liu Chun-yi's 15 points. Yang Ya-hui had 14 points while Lee Wan-ting had 11.

2009 EAG: Taiwan lost to South Korea, failed to defend title

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Tseng Wen-ting missed a pair of free-throws with 10 seconds to go as Taiwan NT was one step short of a huge comeback bid in the final two minutes, losing a 98-97 heartbreaker to South Korea in the 2009 East Asian Games final and failed to defend its title.

Taiwan NT, who led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter over a South Korean team consisting of military and college players, suddenly found themselves trailed by 12 with two minutes remaining.

Koreans closed the gap with an 8-0 run early in the final quarter.

Taiwan head coach Chung Kwang-suk opted to go for the late game intentional fouling and it worked like magic. As Koreans kept missing free-throws, Taiwan cut the deficit to two with 10 seconds to go.

Lee Hsueh-lin and Tseng Wen-ting executed a perfect give-and-go on the last play as Tseng was fouled on his way to the basket. But he missed the most crucial free-throws in the game.

South Korea made the ensuing free-throws to lead by four before Yang Che-yi added a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in the game. There was not enough time for Taiwan to turn the tide.

Taiwan led 45-42 at the half.

Tseng Wen-ting had a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds but was only 4-of-11 from the free-throw line. Chang Chih-feng had 20 points and Lin Chih-chieh added 19.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

UBA Elite Eight

Final eight in the University Basketball Alliance:

National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU)
Mingdao University (MDU)
Chinese Culture University (CCU)
Fu Jen Catholic University (FJU)
National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA)
Hsing Wu College (HWC)
National Taiwan College of Physical Education (NTCPE)
Diwan University (DWU)

2009 EAG: Taiwan NT in title game again

2009EAG Led by Tien Lei and Lin Chih-chieh, Taiwan NT beat Japan 69-67 in the semifinal game of the 2009 East Asian Games and advanced to the title game again, winning an opportunity to defend its title after finishing on top in 2005.

Taiwan will meet South Korea, who sent a mix of the military team and college players but surprised China's second national team 91-59 in the other semifinal, in the tournament finale.

Tien Lei scored the tie-breaking basket on a putback with 10 seconds to go in the close win. Lin Chih-chieh led the team with 17 points. Yang Ching-min had 14 points while center Wu Tai-hao had 12 points, 5 rebounds and two blocks.

In the preliminary round, Taiwan was routed 76-48 by China and cruised past Mongolia 132-94 in the final preliminary game.

Yang Ching-min scored a team-high 12 points in the China game.

Eight players scored in double-digit in the Mongolia game. Tien Lei paced the team with 19 points and Lin Chih-chieh had 18 points. Yang Ching-min chipped in 16.

FIBA Asia: Late burst takes Taipei to bronze

pune Taipei played superbly coordinated basketball in the final three minutes of the game, outscoring their rivals 7-3 in this period, and eked out a 66-63 win over Korea to clinch the bronze medal.

Down 57-58 with about three minutes left in the game of swinging fortunes, Taipei ran a 7-0 spree.

Eunji Kim sank a three-pointer and Dajeong Park converted both her free-throws to bring the score close to 63-64.

Dajeong Park top-scored for Korea with 19 points.

But with less than four seconds left, and Taipei holding the ball, Korea could only muster a foul.

Lin Yu-ting, who scored as many points as Dajeong Park to lead Taipei’s scoring, made no mistake on both the occasions, and her team had won a well-fought and well-deserved bronze.

Fortunes in the game, had throughout swung like the proverbial pendulum with neither side able to sustain any sizable lead.

Taipei seemed to gain an edge when they ran a 9-0 run across the first quarter break and then a mini 6-0 run for a 28-19 lead midway through the second quarter.

Korea hit back in kind with an 11-0 run that took them past Taipei and helped them close the first half 39-35.

Again, a lead that proved as momentary as the margin.

2009 EAG: Taiwan women NT to fight for gold


For the first time, Taiwan women NT is in the final game of an international competition, although the East Asian Games is not exactly the high level international competition most people have in mind.

With a squad mixing the old and the inexperienced youngsters, Taiwan women NT surprisingly routed South Korea 78-58 in the semifinal and make the 2009 EAG final in Hong Kong. It is expected to meet powerful China in the title game.

Taiwan followed a 35-point blowout win over South Korea in the final preliminary game with yet another lopsided win over Koreans on consecutive nights as forward Liu Chun-yi tallying 23 points and 6 rebounds and veteran center Cheng Hui-yun contributing 21 and 9.

"Newcomers on the team have been a surprise since the first day with their hustle, effort and the will to learn, " head coach Hung Ling-yao was quoted as saying, adding that Taiwan NT relied heavily on veterans offensively and let the young players make stops on the defensive end.

Taiwan U-16 women wins bronze in Pune


Taiwan U-16 women NT beat South Korea 66-63 in the bronze medal game, finishing for 3rd place in FIBA Asia U-16 Women Championship in Pune, India.

In the semifinal games, Taiwan lost to Japan, 79-49, while China routed South Korea 110-42. China, who wins gold with a 99-86 win over Japan in the title game, and Japan qualified for FIBA U-17 Women World Championship next year.

Friday, December 04, 2009

ESPN nips 2009-10 SBL TV deal

ESPN will be the main broadcaster for the 2009-10 SBL season after agreeing a deal that worth NT$28 million (US$870,000) which also includes broadcast distribution and marketing rights.

The announcement was made amid the fear of the league not being able to open on time as little progress has been made toward the new season. The public also showed concerns for fan support after a number of popular local players, including Chen Hsin-an and Lin Chih-chieh, left Taiwanese basketball and signed with Chinese teams.

The done deal means SBL teams have secured the largest share of revenue of their annual operation since these team traditionally don't do anything to promote and market themselves.

The National Sports Council, Taiwan's highest sports governing body, also said that it will provide the league with a NT$7 million subsidy as a support for the league that is weathering a difficult time like all sports.

Which means the league has secured NT$35 million in revenue with each team receiving a guaranteed NT$5 million for the new season, which will tip off on January 9 in Miaoli.

In terms of import hiring, team representatives were saying that there will be foreign players playing next season but nothing has been decided yet.

"It's expected that everything will be the same as last year. Same height limit (200cm or 6-7), same salary cap with a maximum of US$10,000 per month, and one import for each team, " Dacin Tigers representative Wang Tsai-hsiang said.

Taiwan U-16 women now 4-0 in Pune

Led by Chen Tsai-yi's 33 points and backup center Huang Hsiang-ting's 18 points and 10 boards, Taiwan U-16 women NT routed its southern neighbor the Philippines 110-30 to go 4-0 in FIBA Asia U-16 Women Championship in Pune, India.

Taiwan is now tied with China at 4-0 and will battle for the top spot in Group A of the tournament, which will send its top two finishers to the World Championship next year.

2009 EAG: Taiwan men routs Macau


Six players scored in double-digit as Taiwan cruised past Macau 118-59 Thursday night in its opening game in the 2009 East Asian Games in Hong Kong.

Taiwan was led by Chang Chih-feng and Yang Ching-min who each scored 17 points. Center Wu Tai-hao had 15 points and four blocks in limited playing time. Lin Chih-chieh and Chen Shun-hsiang, who made his national team debut, had 12 points respectively.

Taiwan shot 17-of-35 from the three-point land but only connected 9 of its 16 free-throw opportunities.

2009 EAG: Taiwan women beat Japan


A 15-0 run in the third period helped Taiwan women's NT to a crucial 76-63 win over rival Japan in the 2009 East Asian games Thursday as Taiwan eyed for a top finish in the single round-robin preliminary round.

Taiwan (2-1) beat Hong Kong 112-47 Wednesday after losing a 69-61 decision to China Tuesday in the opening game.

Taiwan virtually locked up its place in the semi after beating Hong Kong because there are only five teams in the women competition: Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

Game summary:

Taiwan 76-63 Japan: Liu Chun-yi 22p+7rb, Cheng Hui-yun 19p+8rb
Taiwan 112-47 Hong Kong: Huang Fan-shan 18p, Hsu Chien-hui 13p, Huang Ying-li 13p
Taiwan 61-69 China: Liu Chun-yi 25p, Cheng Hui-yun 17p+4rb