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.”
posted by KelvinZ
Chris Zihao Tang’s basketball story starts, of course, with Yao Ming. As a kid growing up in Jiangsu, a province on the eastern coast of China, just northwest of Shanghai, Tang obsessed over Yao and the Rockets, and, like all inspired young kids, went out to the local playgrounds to mimic the big man’s moves. Tang was always faster, taller, and more athletic than everyone else on the court, one of those prodigies who just pick up the game, almost through evolutionary directive. By the time he turned 8 years old, Chris Tang never went anywhere without a basketball, a habit that seemed curious to his parents, who at first asked their son to pursue other interests. He did not. “I watched basketball every day like it was my job,” Tang explained. “When I got out of school, I’d go straight to watching the Rockets on the Internet. My dad used to get mad at me because I would skip meals sometimes to watch the fourth quarter of a game, but I couldn’t stop. It was crazy just how much I loved to watch those guys play.”
Tang’s parents eventually grew to understand that their son had caught the basketball mania that infected so much of China in the early aughts. By the time he reached middle school, Chris had gotten good enough to be faced with a difficult choice — he could enter the labyrinthine Chinese national athletics program or he could try to find an alternate path to professional basketball. The choice rested on his parents’ desire for their child to live a life balanced between basketball and academics. The local club teams had already come around inquiring about Chris, meaning he had the choice to essentially turn professional at the age of 13…
Another product of Boo Williams‘ program, rising junior guard Chris Tang of Hampton Roads Academy, is Oak Hill-bound, according to his host family in Williamsburg. Tang hails from China and as a sophomore earned first-team Division II all-state honors from the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association.
Oak Hill has been attended by NBA stars Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Michael Beasley, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, among others.
The video is of 6-foot-2 (possibly 6-3) guard Chris Tang of Hampton Roads Academy, who was just featured tonight on Beijing Television’s show “BTV Talking Sports” (体育议起来) as part of a 20-minute segment on Jeremy Lin. The show’s analyst initially seemed taken aback when the anchor introduced a clip of Tang with the phrase, “I don’t know if you’re familiar with this…,” but the analyst recovered nicely and spouted some hackneyed answer I didn’t bother remembering.
Tang, who was born in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, came to the US as an eighth-grader and now lives with a foster family in Newport News, Virginia. Because he is of Chinese ethnicity, he has drawn inevitable comparisons with Lin, though this Yahoo story by Cameron Smith would have you believe that Tang has more athletic upside. We should also point out this other very important difference between the two: Tang is…
*watch the video at the link below
Hampton Roads Academy’s 6’3 point guard, Chris Tang. The question, since Tang is of Chinese descent: Is this Mid-Atlantic prep hoops sensation the next Jeremy Lin?
According to SF, Tang’s averaging 20 points per game and has had 42 and 41 point efforts. He plays his summer ball for the Nike AAU powerhouse Boo Williams and Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland and Davidson are all recruiting him heavily. He also went on an unofficial visit to Maryland for the UNC Game. Harvard, of course, is also interested. Watch his highlight reel above. Yahoo’s Prep Rally has the best breakdown of Tang’s comparison to Lin:
What Tang may have as an advantage over Lin is his sheer athleticism. While Lin is an impressive athlete, Tang definitely has more vertical ability and a particularly disproportionate amount of agility and speed when compared with other high school sophomores. He also has a serious shot that should make him a strong prospect for his versatility in running the point or shooting from the perimeter.
While Lin slipped almost completely below the radar, it seems exceedingly unlikely that a similar fate will befall Tang, who has been living in Virginia with a foster family since arriving in the U.S. as an eighth-grader and is reportedly completely comfortable with life as an American teen.
It’s hard to tell whether Tang’s development will continue apace, or whether he can reach anywhere near the heights that Lin is now soaring toward. Still, the fact that he’s beginning from a higher platform than Lin himself makes him a heck of a candidate to be the next Asian guard to crash the major American basketball scene.
Highland (10-8) of Warrenton used solid free-throw shooting down the stretch to ice a 76-70 win over host Hampton Roads Academy (11-4) despite a career-high 41-point performance by Chris Tang.
Chris Tang is a 6’3″ sophmore guard. Tang led his team last year in points 17ppg as a freshman and was all-state in Virginia. Tang has improved his numbers this year. He is a player to watch and has good potential to be a future NCAA D1 player.