At the FIBA U18 Asia Cup, 7-foot-3 Chinese centre Zhang Ziyu had an incredible start on the international front. The 17-year-old displayed her outstanding ability during China’s 109-50 triumph over Indonesia, going 9-of-9 from the field and scoring 19 points in just 13 minutes.

She demonstrated her abilities by pulling down seven rebounds, dishing out two assists, snatching two steals, and blocking three shots to solidify her place as an emerging basketball star.

Zhang’s effort in her third game against Japan was pivotal, as she broke the U18 Asia Cup record with an incredible display. She scored 44 points on 20 of her 22 shots, adding 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

Zhang’s 44-point performance eclipsed the previous tournament record of 39 points set by Hsiao Yu Wen of Chinese Taipei in 2022, according to FIBA, which recognized Zhang’s accomplishment.

“All I have to do is wait to see which WNBA team selects her. During entrance passes, Zhang Ziyu does a fantastic job of keeping the ball high. Some big men pass the ball low, creating a space for lesser defenders to steal and swoop. I wonder if we will ever see her play in the WNBA.” Zhang fan was quoted as saying by themirror.com

Zhang’s wait for the Olympics

Fans are excitedly anticipating Zhang’s debut because she turns 18 on May 1, 2025, but she is ineligible for the 2024 Paris Olympics due to the Olympic Charter’s requirement that competitors be 18 to compete. At six feet nine inches, Han Xu of the New York Liberty is the tallest player in China.

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China won the 2016 FIBA Under-17 World Championship, the 2017 FIBA Under-19 Women’s Basketball World Cup, and the 2018 and 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cups. Its player, Han, was selected in the 2019 WNBA draft.

When Zhang is eventually called to play for the national team, she will rise to prominence within the Chinese basketball system. At 7 feet 3 inches, she will surpass all of her peers in both stature and presence.

The first player in WNBA history to be taller than seven feet was the late Margo Dydek, who was selected first overall in the 1998 WNBA draft. If Ziyu decides to join the WNBA, she will become the tallest player in league history.

 

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