Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

He Tianju the next Chinese hope for the NBA

The 24-year-old Chinese player has been given an invite to play with the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA Summer League and could be taken in the league's draft.
The New Orleans Pelicans made the 2014/15 NBA play-offs. Kathy Willens / AP
The New Orleans Pelicans made the 2014/15 NBA play-offs. Kathy Willens / AP

The New Orleans Pelicans have invited Chinese forward He Tianju to attend the NBA Summer League in July with an eye on drafting him.

He’s Chinese club Liaoning published the invite letter from Pelicans director of player personnel David Booth on Tuesday, asking the 24-year-old to train from July 3 and play in games in Las Vegas on July 11 and 21.

“I became familiar with Tianju He from a recent scout trip to China at the beginning of January,” Booth was quoted as saying by Xinhua in the letter.

“I have observed him on several occasions and think that it would be a great experience for him as a player to be involved with our summer league team.”

The 6ft 9in (2.06 metre) He was voted the starting forward in the China Basketball Association all-star games this year after helping Liaoning Flying Leopards to the runners-up position in the league.

He scored 11.6 points per game in 48 contests, shooting 49.4 per cent on two-point attempts and 42.2 per cent from three. The tended to play around the wing, attempting 5.2 three-pointers a game while grabbing only 3.4 rebounds per game.

There are no Chinese players currently playing in the NBA after Yi Jianlian left the Dallas Mavericks in 2012.

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Updated: May 19, 2015 04:00 AM

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