Game Notes: Australia vs. China Mens. Pool Round.
Welcome to the Youth Olympics!
It’s a 5pm tip here at Sydney University. The Uni is the home of the Flames-the local WNBL team here in Australia.
You'll notice a lack of pictures here- I apologise for that. Even though I was sitting in media seating, nobody has access to photography for a few days as it gets caught up in copyright and technical legalites. Hopefully, I'll be able to post some in a few days time.
A few minutes before tip-off it’s not exactly a packed house , probably only 450 to 500 people, but it has a good feel to the place and there’s always a strong atmosphere. It’s no MSG or Staples Centre but I’d say the place would be the equivalent to an upper-class high school gym, or a small college stadium.
China’s Muhao Li stands at an impressive 7’1 (possibly 7’2). The first thing I thought of when I saw him was almost Chris Rock like ‘daymn!’. Give the kid a few years and 30+ pounds and he’ll be a beast. There's 2 other kids around 6-10 and 6-11 for China as well...guess you get a lot to choose from if you have 3 billion people.
All of China’s players can throw down dunks in warm-ups. A few kids put down some basic alley-to self-oops off the glass and the crowd ‘oohs’ and ‘aah’s’ appreciatively. It’s like in Glory Road. Sort of. Everyone who can dunk for China is doing so as violently as possible, trying to intimidate the Australians, of whom only four or five can throw down consistently. Zhiming Shan just barely misses a between the legs alley. It spins around for a second before rolling out. He shows off some more with a double-clutch and semi-windmill jam as well as one of those old skool Stevie Franchise helicopter dunks- the one that looks like a double pump, but becomes a reverse by the time he lands.
After the national anthems and exchanging of gifts… it’s time to ball!
4- Jackson Aldridge-PG
5- Hugh Greenwood-SG
7- Anthony Drmic- SF
14- Samuel Rowley-PF
15- Daniel Trist-C
4- Hongfei Shi- PG
6- Zhiming Shan-SG
8- Pu Wang
10- Mingxin Ju
15- Muhao Li-C
Li gets proceedings going on an offensive board. Ju follows with and1 for China. Good on the freebie.
Aldridge for 3. Good.
China is playing faster even with a taller team. They’re pushing the temps with a full court press.
2 fouls called on Shan early-He doesn’t have any trouble guarding Aldridge in the open court but he gives up cheap fouls in the process of trapping.
And 1 for Wang. 8-3 early. China lead, and Australia is missing early, often and EASY shots. Lay up for Greenwood. Great reverse by Rowley on Li. Rowley’s about 6’6 210+ pounds and he’s absolutely dwarfed by Li. Imagine how Aaron Books feels having to go up against Yao Ming every practice.
Nice find by Aldridge for a Rowley bucket. 3 assists for Aldridge early. He’s showing good composure and he’s holding tempo well for the Aussies.
It’s 11-10 China leading with 5:48 in the 1st. High-Low with Rowley to Trist who gets a bucket. Aus. Is making their shots now. So is China.
Greenwood draws a charge and its 15-14 Aus, lead. Zihao Guo checks in.
Guo puts Aldridge on skates with a spinning floater-good. Move of the game so far.
China leads 16-15 with 3 to go and four personal fouls for both teams. Next one and its in the penalty for both. Time-Out China.
Remember: This is International rules, just like in the normal Olympics. So, 10 minute quarters and 5 fouls to get to the bonus and free-throws for every foul after that.
China in a trap out of the TO. They foul unnecessarily and Aldridge goes to the line. Good, good. China goes into a dribble handoff game - It isn’t working. 2 straight turn- over’s for them.
Aus are up 19-16 and China calls Time-Out. 5 fouls for both teams now.
KICKS! Lots of hyperdunks out here tonight. Most of the Chinese team have the same colour combination shoe- all of them appear to be hyper dunks, except for a single pair of LeBron’s. Australia has Nike’s, Adidas and pretty much every popular shoe style around. The afore-mentioned LeBrons, Hyperdunks, possibly a pair of Kobe’s and a pair of Jordan’s. Nice to see the variety out there.
Shi with a steal and make. He’s easily the shortest player on the floor and he’d be around 5-10 or so.
26-21 Aus at quarter time. Both teams getting freebies by the end of the Q. Aldridge played really well, and probably has 20 pounds on opposition point Zhiming Shan.
Things get testy between 12 for china and 5 for aus-offensive foul China!
Aldridge hits a 3 on the shot-clock buzzer. 31-23 Aus.
Anthony Drmic for Aus drains a 3, Gao for China almost gets and 1 on the other end. Yep-yep. 34-26.
China is killing themselves with offensive fouls. As I type that, that’s the 5th offensive already. Trist air balls from 4 feet after a clear look at the hoop….38-26 with 6:35 to go in the 2nd.
Shi air balls a 3. Aldridge throws up a botched alley-oop half court attempt to Rowley but an offensive rebound put-back by Greenwood makes up for it.
Aldridge with a floater….And1 and its 44-26 Aus lead with 4:51 to go in the second. Aldridge is lighting China up like some old school fireworks.
Shi splits the triple team and gets a dish to 14. NICE play.
Aldridge bails out Aus AGAIN with a 3 from at least a foot outside NBA range. He made it look almost effortless. 51-28 Aus after another China turnover. And another one after that and it’s becoming a blow-out already.
Rowley is charged wth the personal going the other way and its 51-31. China in an extended trap on pick and rolls. Um, about that- David Hussey bangs down a 3 and Aldridge draws a charge 10 seconds later. I said it earlier- offensive fouls are killing China right now.
Ball movement, missed shot, ball movement-make is the story for Aus right now. Easy baskets from the perimeter and in the paint. Mark Jackson would be pleased ‘gotta get it done’.
Hussey with a strong dribble drive and pulls up for a high arcing jumper- good-and 1. Missed the FT. He gets the rebound anyways and goes to the line for 2 more. 62-33 with 8 seconds to go. Good on the 1st. good again. Makes the second.
64-33 Aus lead at the half.
Notes: Although Australia is shorter at the 4 and 5 spot-easily- it’s their physicality that is changing the game. Pushing guys off the block and away from the bucket is really slowing China down. Making them rely on the 3 ball more often than it seems they’d like. So instead of shooting it from downtown, they force it inside and wind up turning it over. Again. And again, and again.
Jackson Aldridge has 17, 3,3 at the half and he’s drawn 10 fouls. Hussey has 9 and almost everyone is on the board for the Aussies. No-one is in double digits for China but Shang Gao has 9. China’s assist total? 3. Yes 3. All coming from point guard Hongfei Shi- who also happens to be shooting 1/7 from the field with 5 turnovers- he usually ends up with the ball and is forced to try and make plays…so in this instance the statistics don’t do him justice. Australia has 16 assists and 10 Turnovers’ with 7 steals while China has 3 assists, 20(!) turnovers and 3 steals. Height has almost been a non-factor for the Aussies so far as they’ve been able to press and force errors for easy buckets. Superior point guard play by Aldridge has been a major difference between the two as well. The bigs for China try hard but are forced off the block too easily by smaller guys and they don’t get the ball in good spots-although they do have good hands and even all of them are very athletic.
Drmic for 3… good.
Trist with a 15ft jumper. He’s got 14.
It’s all one out stuff for China and Aus is taking advantage- 6 easy points to make it 73-35.
Gao for China goes C2C for a tough lay-up.
Double foul called on Zhu for China and Rowley for Aus. 7 minutes to go and the physicality is being ratcheted up…pressure cooker baby.
China is in foul trouble all over the place. 6.40 to go in the 3rd and next foul Australia is in the bonus. 75-38.
Backdoor cut and 1 for McCaron. He leaves the freethrow short though.
The music is very eclectic from the MC. One minute it’s Rihanna and TI, the next it’s almost metal.
Zhu for China just fouled out. Terrible offensive foul call though-Aussie kid was holding his shirt the whole play.
Li U for China just blocked/pinned/ripped Wroe. China then proceeded to miss three sitters…still, it was block of the game by far. Wroe got put on his backside.
Time- out Aus 85-44 with 2:55 remaining in the third.
Just noticed that Shi for China has this weird plastic strap band around his waist. Nobody else seems to be wearing anything of the sort.
3Q time: 91-53 Australia.
2 turnovers by Australia to start the 4th. Trist is showing his immaturity with a stupid foul offensively. He just blatantly pushes one of the Chinese players in the back- 2 metres from a referee. Smooth move Dan.
Great offensive rebounding by China, but they still can’t get one to go down.
It’s mostly end-to-end stuff now, neither team seems interested in guarding the other- and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change, regardless of what the coaches want.
A god-awful shot-clock turnover by Australia leads to a Time-Out with 7.07 to go, 97-56….and the Aussie coach is severely pissed off. Play the game fellas- not the clock.
Trist turns his head and almost gets dunked on. Lucky he pushed his back out or he would’ve been on a HUGE poster. Freethrows are good.
Shan gets the basket , but misses the and 1. 99-59 Aus lead with 5.31 to go.
China cuts it to a 38 pt game. Make it 36.
10 for China hits a 3 and its 103-70.
Greenwood double clutches on a pull-up. Smooth.
Aldridge is off with blood. Most interesting thing in the 2nd half. Might be a tooth actually. I’ll get back to you all on that.
Rowley blocks himself at the cup and then gives up a cheap one. It puts China in the bonus as well putting himself out of the game. Good, good. 105-72.
Rowe airballs on a ridiculous looking fade-away from the left block. MJ would not be happy.
Yep Jackson Aldridge has lost a tooth. He’s ok though. China has had two players foul out within the space of 12 seconds. Theres only 15 seconds left in the game.
Game-Over and your final score is 105-76 Australia.
Aldridge finished with 17pts, Trist 16, Rowley had 10 and 10, Greenwood 12, 6 and 4 and Drmic had 11, 4 and 6.
Australia shot 49% from the field and 33% from 3. They had 22 turnovers and 25 assists with 13 steals.
For China Gao had a game high 18 and 7 rebounds. Ju and Shan both had 13.
The Chinese shot 1 from 20 (not a typo) from 3pt line (5%) and 31% from the field while turning the ball over….31 times. 31! And they finished with 8 assists and 5 steals.
I was really impressed with Jackson Aldridge tonight. He dominated on both ends of the cour and didn’t take a possession off-He should be in the college system eventually. Daniel Trist needs to grow up. He looks like a white Kendrick Perkins- always shocked when a call goes against him but he did scrap well and used his body to his advantage against bigger Chinese opponents. Sam Rowley played all five positions tonight. He’ll play the 3 for the rest of his career, but he’s so versatile you could slot him anywhere except centre in a professional league- except Thailand. He would dominate over there at 6’6.
Muhao Li (the 7’1 Chinaman) only played 8 minutes tonight, but he was solid when he did play. He needs to get a real body and the US colleges will come calling. He’s athletic enough to hold his own against every 7 footer in the NBA right now.
Thanks for reading everyone. Big shout out to Justin Walsh and BiL for this opportunity since Ryne didn't even bother to get back to me when I shot him an email about it a week ago.
PS- I covered the women's game which followed straight after. I'll be posting those notes in 48 hours or so.
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