The NetScouts Basketball USA All-Star team has finally reached our first destination of Tianjin after a 35-40 hour trip for most of us. Quite a few of the players had the fly from the east coast to LAX. From there we had a 14-hour flight to Guangzhou, then a two-hour layover followed by a 3-hour flight to Beijing, then a 2-hour bus ride here.
The schedule has been changed for the Tianjin tournament. Our first game tonight at 7pm local time will be against the China U18 National Team that is preparing for the Asian games later this summer. That will be followed on Friday at 8:30pm local time with a contest against the Lithuania which represented by the U20 team from Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Our last game will be Saturday at 8:30 local time against the Tianjin Steel professional team from the Chinese Basketball Association. The Tianjin squad will be without their American players Sebastian Telfair and Sheldon Williams.
We’ll have an off-day on Sunday and will likely explore the city. Tianjin is a city of over seven million people and is the fourth biggest city in population in China. This area of China has been popular with Europeans and the downtown area has some restaurants and shops that cater to the Europeans. There is a TV tower nearby that used to be the tallest structure in China and there seems to be an amusement park with a Ferris Wheel within walking distance. We’ll be checking it all out.
After the competition is over here in Tianjin we’ll be taking a high-speed train on Sunday to the second city of Jiangyin in Jiangsu Provence. The city looks to be 1-2 hours outside of Shanghai.
The competition started here last night as the Tianjin Steel topped the Lithuanian team 77-65 behind 20 points from 6’6″ Zhang Zhihan. 6’10” Xi Lui added 18 points and nine rebounds. Lithuania looks to have some skilled forwards and a very quick point guard.