CHANGZHI, Shanxi province: The shouting, jumping and at times wild coaching style of Jason Rabedeaux, head coach of the Chinese Basketball Association club Jiangsu Dragons, has won over both team fans and his players.
Now, he's hoping to take his experience and his knowledge of the game to a whole another level.
"I would love to help coach the Chinese national team," he told China Daily during the Lu'an Cup CBA Summer League at Changzhi, Shanxi province. "I'd love to be part of the team. I would love to be an assistant coach on the step and help the team in some way."
He is, however, quick to say that the head coach position should be held by a Chinese person and said he has great respect for current national team head coach Guo Shiqing.
The two met twice last season when Guo was coaching the CBA's Liaoning Panpan Hunters. He said he is looking forward to catching the 25th FIBA Asia Championship to be held in Tianjin from Aug 6-16.
"The head coach of the national team should always be a Chinese person," Rabedeaux said.
A longtime NCAA assistant coach for Division I universities in the US such as Marquette University, Rabedeaux led the Jiangsu Dragons to a third-place finish in the CBA standings in his debut last year. He has become very popular thanks to his distinguished coaching style, which usually has him gesturing wildly during games.
"American coaches are by nature a bit more passionate than others around the world," Rabedeaux said. That's just how I am. I think our players know that I am going to work every bit as hard as they are to try to win the game.
"Chinese coaches are very knowledgeable. It's two different set of coaches. It's not good or bad. It's just different. Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian are different from LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant). But they are still able to play in NBA."
Prior to the ascension of Guo on the national team, China had two foreign coaches before at the helm.
Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Del Harris spearheaded China into the field of eight during the Athens Olympics and his successor Jonas Kazlauskas of Lithuania equaled Harris' achievement at the Beijing Games last year.
Rabedeaux said the CBA is prospering in every aspect of the game.
"All the things are improving in the league, from the level of play, to the marketing, promotions and knowledge base of the game," he said.
Having a coach from the US in the CBA allows a different set of knowledge to be passed to Chinese players, who are continuing to improve by the day, he said.
"I am seeing the continuing development of young players in China. This is one of the biggest factors for the CBA to continue to grow."
With the success of former CBA stars Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian in the NBA, and the booming development of the top flight league, China is tempting more and more overseas players and coaches, especially from US.
"It's very good because China and USA must be friends in this world in all things. Basketball is one of the best ways for the relationship to continue to grow," said Rabedeaux.
(China Daily 08/04/2009 page24)