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Chinese Gilas-slayer Zhou Qi faces age intrigue in NBA Draft


Zhou Qi, a core player of Chinese National Basketball Team who tormented Gilas Pilipinas in 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, decided to join the 2016 NBA Draft and looked like he pleased the scouts with his laudable height, length and mobility but his draft stock recently seemed to decline as questions of his listed age arise.

Dubbed as Chinese basketball’s next big thing, the 7-foot-1-¼-center prospect has relatively dropped his stock as several scouts continue to doubt his age. ESPN Insider Chad Ford posted in his Twitter that it somehow concerned teams. Qi’s paper stated that he was born in January 16, 2016 but some scouts believe that he was born in year 1992 or 1993.

Last April, Qi was a potential 28th pick according to a report from Draft Express, a potential late first-rounder or early second-rounder. Meanwhile, the latest report eight days before the draft from NBA, Qi stands around the 43rd spot.

The Henan-native center played in CBA for Xinjiang and has a wingspan of 7-foot-7 ¾ while bannering a standing reach of 9-foot-4 ½.

Scouts collectively praised Qi for his giant size, vast length and agility even though he would not be a top scoring man for his future team, while his contribution will mostly matter on the defensive end.

Qi trained for Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics who expressed interest to him. The only thing that is dragging him down right now was his age that has been allegedly rumored to be faked.

In the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships against Philippines, Qi had a great night after delivering 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals for China in the time they needed someone to keep them in control of the game. Qi served as a big factor in China’s routing of Gilas back then.

He rose from stardom in 2011 where he unleashed a triple-double bomb with 41 points, 28 rebounds and 15 blocks in China’s game against Germany in a U-16 Tournament.