Last year, Chris Tang and the bench were distant associates. But after transferring from Hampton Roads Academy to Oak Hill Academy, the two have become close friends.
Tang, a 6-foot-3 junior, transferred schools to better his chances of playing college basketball. After a few months on a team fully equipped with all-stars, Tang is adjusting to becoming a second-string player.
“The competition is a lot better. We play pretty hard against each other in and out of practice,” said Tang.
Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, who is in his 28th season, said Tang was one of the team’s best perimeter shooters, but he still isn’t ready to start.
“At Hampton Roads he was a starter. He’s got to fit into the role so he’s adjusting,” said Smith. “He’s a good shooter off the bounce and off the catch and he’s going to keep getting stronger in the weight room.”
Tang scored a season-high 12 points earlier this week as Oak Hill beat Kamehamea of Hawaii 78-37 in the ‘Iolani Prep Classic in Hawaii. Oak Hill is 17-1 going into Friday night’s semifinals.
Originally from China, Tang said he misses his friends and host family in Newport News, but transferring to Oak Hill will make him a better player.
“They do more defensive drills and shooting drills, just more running of plays,” Tang said of Oak Hill.
Smith said Tang “needs to work on defensively guarding the ball and keeping guys in front of him.”
The change in coaching styles and high competition between Tang and his teammates has affected his playing.
“I think sometimes he’s stressing a bit. He thinks when he plays, and he needs to play freely,” said Smith. “I think sometimes he’s thinking, ‘Is coach going to take me out,’ because all our guys can play, and they know if one’s not doing well I’ll put in another one.”
Oak Hill is known for shipping its players to some of the best Division I basketball schools. Tang’s teammate, Troy Williams, committed to Indiana. Smith said with his continued hard work, Tang’s chances for playing college basketball will increase.
With a rigorous schedule between schoolwork and basketball, Tang said he has made new friends with his teammates. And unsurprisingly, when they aren’t in practice or in class, the team is playing basketball or watching it together on TV.
“My favorite (team) is the (Houston) Rockets. I like Jeremy Lin,” Tang said.
In the mean time Tang continues to adjust to living in the dorms and preparing for college, Smith said Tang keeps and optimistic attitude for the future.
“He doesn’t talk a lot but when he does he’s always telling me, ‘Coach I like it here, thank you for giving me the opportunity, and I’m getting better.”
via Tang makes friends with the bench to advance on the court – Daily Press.