Basketball: China's World Cup hopes rest on towering front court

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They're ranked just 30th in the world, but China will have some promising new talent, a gentle group draw, and a billion-plus fans on their side ...

SHANGHAI: They're ranked just 30th in the world, but China will have some promising new talent, a gentle group draw, and a billion-plus fans on their side as the hosts look to make some noise at the Basketball World Cup.

For now, China's hopes rest largely on the shoulders of its towering front court of three seven-footers: Yi Jianlian, Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin. "Who wouldn't want to play in a FIBA World Cup at home, on your home soil and try to make your fellow compatriots proud?" Guo said in comments to FIBA last week.China also has landed in a relatively kind group along with Poland, Venezuela, and 64th-ranked Ivory Coast.Yao took over as head of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017 and has set about reforming an entrenched state development system that he says badly needs an overhaul.

But he tamped down expectations of overnight success, saying the World Cup is a mere"sprint" compared to the marathon task faced in overhauling Chinese basketball.

 

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