Yi Jianlian Becomes A Dad Today

Yi Jianlian Becomes A Dad Today

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian has posted two pictures on his Weibo showing that he has become a dad.His wife gave birth to a baby boy on September 29, 2014.The 30-year-old once played in NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, and Dallas Mavericks.He now plays for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in CBA.

via Yi Jianlian Becomes A Dad Today.

Toronto Marlies Roster Preview: Zach Yuen

Toronto Marlies – Zach Yuen – #19 with Orlando Solar Bears

Age: 21

Weight: 205

Height: 6’0″

Position: Defence

Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia

How he got here: Drafted 119th overall, round four, 2011 by Winnipeg. Went unsigned, picked up by Toronto.

Contract Status: Signed to a Marlies contract. 

Quick Background

Yuen’s story is more confusing than the normal AHL’ers. Yuen was drafted 119th overall in 2011, when Winnipeg traded two picks to move up and get him. The Jets and Yuen were never able to work out a deal and he went unsigned past the deadline. This meant he could re-enter the NHL draft, where he was expected to have been taken in the late second or early third rounds. Instead he went undrafted. He was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect camp in 2013 after running out of junior eligibility and impressed, which earned him an AHL contract.

2013-2014 Season Recap

Yuen spent the majority of last season playing for the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears, where he had 12 points in 48 games. He also saw three games for the Marlies where he was held scoreless.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Yuen is a two-way defencemen who has a solid scoring touch for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL. So far that hasn’t translated to the pro game.

He’s a very strong skater with strong agility and mobility. He was a figure skater growing up and has been able to translate that skill to hockey.

He’s also got a solid physical game and isn’t afraid to throw his body around or drop the gloves.

Despite all those positive attributes, Yuen appears to have plateaued. While his time in the ECHL and AHL were solid, he’s quickly being passed by younger prospects with higher ceilings.

Maple Leafs Depth Chart

Yuen is going to be hard pressed to make the Marlies this season. If the Maple Leafs defence has Phaneuf, Robidas, Rielly, Gardiner, Franson, Polak and Tallinder staying at the NHL level, that leaves Mikkelson, Percy, Granberg, Holzer, MacWilliam, Finn, Loov, Nilsson, Knodel, Marshall and Yuen fighting for spots in the AHL. Needless to say, that’s not good for Yuen.

That being said, while Yuen will likely start the season in the ECHL he could be called up to fill in for an injury. Any injury to either a Maple Leaf or Marlie defencemen will move everybody up a peg, which could allow Yuen to play for the Marlies this season.

Fun Fact:

Is the first Chinese-Canadian drafted in the NHL.

2014-2015 Season Potential

Yuen is quickly approaching make or break time on a professional career. He’s got to prove this year that he’s good enough to take a spot on the Marlies. If he can’t do that, he may find himself without another contract offer going forwards.

via Toronto Marlies Roster Preview: Zach Yuen.

Chris Tang is now at UC Riverside


 UCR basketball coach Dennis Cutts, center, stands with his four international recruits, from left, Cheick Thiero, Mali, Chris Tang, China, Robert Boezeman, Netherlands, and Alexander Larsson, Sweden, on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.

Chris Tang is one of China’s brightest young players and potentially an Olympian. Some Internet pundits have already compared him to Jeremy Lin.

Robert Boezeman’s family in the Netherlands is heavily involved in the sport of basketball, but after watching NBA and college games on television, he knew he wanted to play in the U.S.

It’s an interesting mix of story lines and backgrounds, but it’s not a coincidence that this collection of players found its way to UC Riverside.

The group is the first of what Highlanders coach Dennis Cutts hopes is the program’s new globetrotting approach to successful recruiting.

After floundering for more than a decade in the Big West and typically failing to woo top local players, UCR is now focused on recruiting internationally. It’s not a new strategy – several programs scan teams in Europe or club teams with international ties for potential players – but it is new philosophy for UCR.

“We felt we had to find a unique way to attract talent,” Cutts said. “One of the things when I got (the job) was that we were going to explore that.”

Assistant coach Stephen Sauers has spearheaded the international search. His coaching connections have proven invaluable, Cutts said, including what has become a pipeline of sorts with the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands off Spain.

The academy, according to its Web site, strives to develop the best basketball players in the world, at all levels.

Both Boezeman and Tang played at the CBA.

“My dream since I was 12 years old was to play college Division I,” said Boezeman, who played in the European championships with the Netherlands Under-16 and Under-18 national teams before going to the CBA. The 6-foot-7 forward signed last fall to come to UCR after being heavily recruited by Sauers.

Tang signed in the spring. The 6-4 combo guard from Jiangsu, China, had already made a name for himself in the U.S. after earning all-state honors as a freshman and sophomore at Hampton Roads Academy in Virginia and then playing at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy.

He averaged nearly 16 points per game for the CBA U-18 team, which reached Spain’s 2014 National Youth Championships, and proved a top 3-point threat, hitting 44 percent of his shots. Cutts said ACC and Big East schools had shown an interest in Tang.

The pressure to perform is nothing new for Tang, who has developed a following in China, but wasn’t sure what to make of the Lin comparisons. “I wish they would call me Dwyane Wade,” Tang told Grantland in a 2012 story. “I want to play like Wade. An athletic guard who gets to the rim.”

On a UC Riverside campus that is 35 percent Asian or Asian-American, Tang said he’s hoping to draw some attention for the team and students.

“It will be exciting to play in front of the Asian community,” he said. “They will be supporting me.”

via BASKETBALL: UCR going Globetrotting – Press Enterprise.

Anaheim Ducks invite Brandon Yip to training camp for tryout

The Anaheim Ducks released their 2014 training camp roster on Wednesday, revealing two tryout invites: forward Brandon Yip (pictured) and defenseman Brendan Bell.

Yip, 29, only managed to play two games with the then-Phoenix Coyotes last season. He spent most of his time with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, collecting 87 penalty minutes while generating 34 points in 66 games.

One could probably label Yip an “energy” forward, as he’s not a great scorer and his possession stats leave plenty to be desired. Still, he’s done quite well considering the fact that he was an eight-round pick (239th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2004).

via Ducks invite Yip to training camp for tryout | ProHockeyTalk.

Jeremy Lin Latest: Blogs Say New LA Lakers Player Could be All-Star, Most Improved Player in 2014-15

Several blogs are saying that Jeremy Lin, fresh off a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Houston Rockets, could make some big steps this year and even become an All-Star or the Most Improved Player this upcoming season.

Lin, who often plays point guard, will likely be starting in L.A., mentored by the veteran Steve Nash.

Though Lin showed some serious promise in New York, he never lived up to expectations in Houston, prompting the team to jettison him and his large contract to the Lakers and getting nothing in return.

Now Lin has a shot to become even more popular, reported Lakes How Life.


The blog quoted Judy Seto, the Lakers physical therapist, talking about how popular basketball is in China: “Basketball has a strong heritage in China. In some of the places in China people say ‘we have waited a lifetime for them (Lakers) to come. To have the Lakers in my country in my city is a dream come true.’ Basketball has been popular in China for a long time.”

“It is that immense popularity that may translate itself into All-Star votes for Jeremy Lin.  China has a huge voice in the makeup of the NBA All-Star team just by virtue of its residents: a billion strong. In 2011, an injured Yao Ming was voted in as a starter in the All-Star game even though his season was over. Thank you China. Kobe Bryant was voted in as an All-Star in 2014 even though he played six games. Credit China for their blind allegiance,” the blog said.

“Skating the narrow line of being an All-Star and causing chaos has always been Jeremy Lin’s burden. In 2013 he received 839,000 votes. It was 45,000 votes less than Chris Paul. Lin was relieved not to make a team he did not belong on.

“In 2014 Lin received 628,000 votes, fourth among Western Conference guards. But he had 150,000 more votes than James Harden, his own teammate who averaged 25 points a game. Lin had 311,000 more votes than Russell Westbrook. He had 370,000 more votes than Tony Parker.

“Wearing a Lakers uniform, Lin’s Chinese popularity has already skyrocketed. Asian-Americans who look at Jeremy Lin as a heroic ceiling breaker have been reenergized. For the first time in his career Jeremy Lin will play a Christmas Day game, will be seen by millions.  The access TimeWarner Cable has with the Lakers will open up opportunities for a new breed of Lin followers who don’t judge his value on stats but on what he has done to elevate Asian people in a sport where no Asian guard has ever excelled.”

Another Lakers blog, Hoops Habit, says that Lin may very well win the Most Improved Player in the 2014-15 season.

The blog says that Lin is indeed an All-Star caliber player but that the Rockets didn’t use him right–and the Lakers will.

“One of the reasons Lin was able to succeed during his time with the Knicks was that he was allowed to be himself–a playmaker who wasn’t restricted by the offense. I hear you, Laker haters–I disagree with the notion that Kobe Bryant is going to play ball stopper. Bryant isn’t the point guard and while he will certainly take the lion’s share of the shows in the halfcourt offense, he’ll also draw the lion’s share of defensive attention,” the blog said.

“The ideal situation is to let Lin do his thing while Kobe gets rest, with Jeremy going back into more of a facilitator role when Bryant comes back onto the court. The truth of the matter is, we don’t exactly know how Bryant is going to respond to his injuries. If he has to adjust his game because his explosion and lift is gone, he’ll defer more often than he has in the past.

“That’s a major win for Lin, who plays best with the ball in his hands, making plays for hsi team. As long as new head coach Byron Scott puts his faith into Lin, he’ll give the team the kind of production we all know he can. It would be a major boon for Lin if Julius Randle turns out to be a quality pick-and-pop big or at the very least, if Carlos Boozer can find the fountain of youth and start making jumpers.”

via Jeremy Lin Latest: Blogs Say New LA Lakers Player Could be All-Star, Most Improved Player in 2014-15.

China appears ready for indoor football league in 2015 – Sports – Chinadaily.com.cn

China is definitely not a market that most sports fans would associate with American football, but a dedicated group of US businessmen are trying to change that perception by helping bring a professional indoor football league to China.

“There’s a lot to be said when it comes to bringing the game of football to China,” Marty Judge, part owner of the Arena Football League’s (AFL) Philadelphia Soul, said in a telephone interview with China Daily on Monday. “I’ve been there since 2008 and what I’ve heard is the outdoor sports are not as well taken as the indoor sports.”

“In talking to a lot of people in government they felt the same way,” he continued. “That’s why the government embraced indoor football when I came over and presented the idea.”

Judge, the founder of the Judge Group Inc, a global professional services firm based in the Philadelphia area, has partnered with former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Ron Jaworski and Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil, among others, to help bring football to fans in China.

The China American Football League (CAFL), which has preliminary plans for six to eight teams scattered across several major Chinese cities, will kick off in September 2015.

Each team will have a roster of 20 players, including 12 Chinese and eight Americans, and many of the participants, as well as coaches, will come directly from the Arena Football League.

Potential investors can scoop up a franchise for $10 million, which also gives the team’s owner the rights to receive a portion of the CAFL’s TV-licensing revenues.

Ron Jaworski, a football analyst with ESPN, who is also a part owner of the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul, said although there’s no guarantee of success in China, he “strongly believes American football will meet the insatiable sports demand from the growing Chinese consumer base”.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring our great sport to China, and to do it with the cooperation of the Chinese government,” Jaworski said in an August interview with Bloomberg News.

An agreement between Ganlan Media International (GMI), a Beijing-based global sport marketing company, and the Chinese Rugby Football Association announced the news on Aug 14.

Judge, who created GMI in 2010 and serves as its CEO, said developments to bring indoor football to China have been in the works for several years. He also said the prevalence of arenas in China makes it a good candidate for the indoor version of football.

While football’s huge potential in China remains largely untapped, Richard Young, the managing director of the NFL’s office in China, said increasing Chinese interest in American football could take time.

“We’ve seen a real groundswell of interest in American football here in China,” Young said. “The most important element of the NFL is the fan base, and China is where future fans are. But it’s a very difficult market and it takes a lot of long-term planning.”

The NFL, which has had an office in China since 2007, has seen its fan base grow more than eightfold in the last four years (1.6 million in 2010 to 14 million in 2014), according to data from NFL China.

Though China’s collective penchant for Western sports is growing, Young said the CAFL’s leadership group should realize that bringing American football to China is “not a zero-sum game”.

“Their success will be dependent on our success, and our successes will help each other,” Young said. “Though the NFL is not involved with the CAFL in any way, we know that it takes time to build up interest and you need to have a long-term horizon [in China]. And having a successful indoor football league in China is extremely helpful to the game for all growth aspects, no question.”

via China appears ready for indoor football league in 2015 – Sports – Chinadaily.com.cn.

Timmy Chang’s first game as an offensive coordinator ended in true Timmy Chang fashion

Timmy Chang set all kinds of passing records at Hawaii back in his heyday, and in his first game as an offensive coordinator for Jackson State, the game ended in true Timmy Chang fashion; with a 50 yard heave to the end zone to beat Florida A&M with just over a second left in regulation.

Even in the rain, Chang’s first game calling the offense saw nine different receivers touch the ball and a 100 yard rusher.

One of the reasons you hire a guy like Chang is because he’s bound to make the offense extremely exciting. First year head coach Harold Jackson realized that, and Chang delivered in week one.

It’s always great to see the mayhem and celebration that ensues after a Hail Mary win. It never gets old.

via Timmy Chang’s first game as an offensive coordinator ended in true Timmy Chang fashion.