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ReggieMiller8325
04-14-2005, 08:55 PM
GREENSBORO — The hoop hangs within arm's reach of Sun Ming Ming.

Photo
Sun Ming Ming, whose head measures above most door frames, follows Keith Gatlin into Fitness by Design for a late morning workout. (Joseph Rodriguez/©News & Record)

The 7-foot-8 3/4 center positions himself under the basket and awaits a pass from trainer Keith Gatlin.

Ball in hand, Sun muscles his 350-pound frame into training partner Dshamal Schoetz, a 7-footer who played at Greensboro College who is nearly nine inches shorter. Sun pivots and places the ball firmly into the hoop. Swish.

Sun, who is from Harbin, China, is training in Greensboro for a shot at the NBA. His agent, Charles Bonsignore, paired the prospect up with former client and former professional basketball player Keith Gatlin. Gatlin, a managing partner with 334 Sports, a local firm that trains athletes, has worked with Sun for about five weeks.

"With his size, that intrigues everybody," Gatlin said. "He can really shoot the ball to be that size. The challenge for him now is to get mobile, to get up and down the court."

Sun also can handle the ball and has a sweet outside shot that swishes with the quick flick of his wrist. When it comes to dunking, he doesn't need to leave the ground.

Basketball, Gatlin will tell you, is not Sun's problem.

Sun's weakness is his flexibility and his lack of weight training. While playing for the Junior Olympic team and then Da Qing, his province's club squad, Sun never lifted weights and is just now building upper-body strength.

Trainer James Wilson, who coaches track and field at High Point University, has worked with Sun on his mobility for about five weeks.

During the first workout, the color drained from Sun's face, and he tired easily. Now Sun completes the workouts. His flexibility has improved to where he can lift his knees higher, and he gets up and down the court smoother.

Wilson said Sun is young in terms of his training years.

"I treat him like he is a high school senior lifting weights," Wilson said. "You build from that. ... There's a progression that you need to go. You can't just go everyday hard, hard, hard. It just doesn't work like that."

Sometimes the language barrier can be a problem, Wilson said, because Sun is mentally tough and wants to complete the workouts. An "OK" from Sun isn't always good enough for Wilson, who looks for other signs. Is he wincing? Is there color in his face?

"You push a person, but you don't want to push a person where they get injured, and that happens with a lot athletes with a lot of willpower," Wilson said. "It's better to undertrain than overtrain."

The risk of injury is too great, especially with NBA teams already asking about Sun. The possibility of making the NBA thrills Sun, who is happily working toward his future.

Photo
Sun's grasp on a basketball resembles most people holding a softball. (Joseph Rodriguez/©News & Record)

"I have more opportunities here," Sun said through interpreter Hsiao-Yin Chu. "I have the opportunity to play with the best players in the world and get into good basketball."

Bonsignore saw the raw potential while watching Sun play for the Junior Olympic team in China and again when he played for Da Qing.

"More than anything I saw his size," Bonsignore said. "I just thought it was a complete waste of a kid's life: That he's so big, and they don't have the resources to train him."

That's why Bonsignore asked Gatlin to train Sun. Gatlin spent eight years playing professional ball in Europe, so he understands what it's like to adjust to a new culture.

"Keith believes in basically the old style of basketball fundamentals," Bonsignore said. "With his personality and demeanor, I knew he'd make Sun comfortable."

Since arriving in North Carolina in early March, Sun has become more comfortable with his surroundings, particularly around his support team and host family Rocky and Celeste Manning, friends of Gatlin's.

During the week, Sun climbs into the back seat of Gatlin's SUV and rides to the Greensboro Sportsplex or Fitness by Design. His days are devoted to basketball, but he spends the evenings lounging around the Manning's house in Summerfield. He is another member of the Manning family whether he's cooking on the grill, driving the golf cart or writing in his journal.

The Mannings don't speak Chinese, but sign language does the trick.

"He's been great," Rocky Manning said. "He totally changed from when he first came here. He didn't seem that happy, but now he smiles and laughs and knows a couple hundred words in English. He's a very smart guy."

Sun will stay in Greensboro until May when he'll return to China for 45 days to play in the national games with his club team. He is expected to return in June for the NBA Draft, but Bonsignore isn't interested in hyping Sun's situation because it could create unfair comparisons to recent China product Yao Ming.

If Sun is drafted in June, Bonsignore hopes he'll be picked by a team willing to develop Sun's skills.

If he's not drafted, he will become a free agent, and Bonsignore said they will consider taking next year to continue building his skills.

"If a team doesn't show that they are willing to be patient," Bonsignore said, "we'll just wait and show him when he's ready."

http://www.news-record.com/sports/local/bkbtraining_041305.htm

Hes Huge :o

ImCrazyB
04-14-2005, 09:02 PM
Eh, I give his NBA career length a year or two..Ankle injuries around going to kill him.

3ptmiller
04-14-2005, 09:08 PM
WTF! 7' 9" almost!! He will make Shaq look like Mugsy Bouges! And once again i was prooved wrong, Chinese men are not short! :D

skyfire
04-14-2005, 09:08 PM
http://www.news-record.com/graphics/april/basketball_041305.jpg :o

3ptmiller
04-14-2005, 09:08 PM
http://www.news-record.com/graphics/april/basketball_041305.jpg :o

OH MY GOD!? That looks like a Tennis ball to him!

3ptmiller
04-14-2005, 09:10 PM
Where do they come up with these genetic freaks?!? I mean you walk down the street in any Chinese city and you will rarely if ever see someone over 6 feet tall, yet they produce a few 7ft+ kids? Perhaps there biotech in China is a little more advanced than we know

HAHA

ReggieMiller8325
04-14-2005, 09:19 PM
what if we pick him uo how good would he do here.

Anthem
04-14-2005, 09:20 PM
Where do they come up with these genetic freaks?!? I mean you walk down the street in any Chinese city and you will rarely if ever see someone over 6 feet tall, yet they produce a few 7ft+ kids? Perhaps there biotech in China is a little more advanced than we know

HAHA

Mongolia.

Have you ever been to China?

Anthem
04-14-2005, 09:21 PM
And for the record, I'd be fine with picking him (not with our first-round pick, but definitely in the second. That's what a second-round pick is, a gamble. If it doesn't work out it doesn't work out.

Stryder
04-14-2005, 09:59 PM
Holy Sh*tballs Batman! That guy is huge. Damn.

3ptmiller
04-14-2005, 10:05 PM
Mongolia.

Have you ever been to China?

Yep i have been in Hong Kong 5 years ago and yes i know Mongolia, but thats not China. Its a different country and they have even a different religion there (Islam)... they are Bigger yes :)

NorCal_Pacerfan
04-15-2005, 02:29 AM
Link doesn't load. Can someone post a pic?

Will Galen
04-15-2005, 03:42 AM
OH MY GOD!? That looks like a Tennis ball to him!

I would say a soccer ball would be the best comparison.

3Ball
04-15-2005, 09:41 AM
Holy Moly. The difference in height between this dude and Jermaine is about the same difference as JO and Iverson. If he really turns out to be a good player and plays for the Chinese national team, they theoretically could have a front line of like, 7'9", 7'6", and 5'8".

3ptmiller
04-15-2005, 11:57 AM
Holy Moly. The difference in height between this dude and Jermaine is about the same difference as JO and Iverson. If he really turns out to be a good player and plays for the Chinese national team, they theoretically could have a front line of like, 7'9", 7'6", and 5'8".

Haha yea, in china you can find people ONLY under 6 feet and over 7 feet.. there exists no 6 footers.. there are only Giants and Midgets :laugh:

cariocapacer
04-15-2005, 05:30 PM
Gotta have more potential than Edwards!

SjA3837
04-15-2005, 06:58 PM
I would really like to take a chance on the guy...

wintermute
04-16-2005, 12:58 AM
obviously, with a population of a 1 billion people, you're going to have more than a few over 7 feet tall :unimpress

i wouldn't read too much into it. every year around draft time we get to hear stories about these giants-in-the-rough. odds are low that they'll turn out well, or even serviceable.