UCLA ready to play in Shanghai
Updated: 2012-08-28 08:01
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Last year's ugly brawl wasn't enough to scare off the NCAA.
Despite a fight between the NCAA's Georgetown Hoyas and the CBA's Bayi Rockets in an exhibition game last August, another major US college team, the UCLA Bruins, will take on the CBA's Shanghai Sharks on Tuesday.
The game at the Shanghai Yuanshen Sports Center is part of the Sino-US collegiate sports and cultural-exchange program that was launched on Thursday.
The Bruins are the most successful collegiate basketball franchise in the US, having won a record 11 NCAA titles in 25 Final Four appearances. They've also developed NBA stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Times have been a little rougher in recent years. UCLA went 19-14 in 2011 en route to missing the NCAA tournament for the second time in eight seasons.
That looks to be changing after the team secured promising freshman Shabbazz Muhammad, who is expected to be one of the top picks in next year's NBA draft.
On the Shanghai side, former NCAA center Zhang Zhaoxu, who played three season for the University of California, Berkeley from 2007-2010, will lead a young roster that includes budding forward Cai Chen and guard Meng Lingyuan.
UCLA's dancers and mascots will be on hand as Shanghai warms up for the NBA China Games between the Los Angeles Clipper and Miami Heat in October.
"The big goal on this trip is to have fun. We want our kids to have a great experience - to really enjoy the opportunity to see the culture of China," said Bruins coach Ben Howland.
For tickets, go to www.damai.cn/ticket_40656.html
(China Daily 08/28/2012 page22)