Two Chinese players drafted directly into WNBA

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/4/12 0:21:30

The 23rd annual WNBA Draft saw Chinese center Han Xu selected by the New York Liberty as the 14th overall pick, while her compatriot Li Yueru was taken 35th by the Atlanta Dream on Thursday.

Han became the first Chinese draftee since the Los Angeles Sparks picked 2.03m center Zheng Haixia in 1997. Han is the fifth Chinese athlete to play in the WNBA, after Zheng, Miao Lijie, Sui Feifei and Chen Nan. The young center will play for New York in the new season opening on May 24.

In recent years, with many Chinese rising stars seeking opportunities in the WNBA, including China's national team captain Shao Ting, who represented Minnesota Lynx in pre-season games in 2017, women's basketball in China has seen a spike in international interest.

"However, we should not be complacent as we are still far behind," cautioned Bai Xilin, secretary general of the Chinese Basketball Association. "We encourage more players to improve themselves in the WNBA and other international leagues, so that they will return to China more skillful and professional, inspire young players and lead women's basketball to a higher level."


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