With the start of the 2008-09 NBA season fast approaching, the Lakers will look to build upon last season's deep playoff run by getting players back from injury and solidifying their bench. One step the Lakers made to deepen their roster this offseason was signing 6-9 Chinese guard Sun Yue.
Yue was selected 40th overall by the Lakers in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft. Although some may assume that he isn't ready to make Sun Yuethe jump from international play to the physical nature of the NBA, his two years experience in the American Basketball Association promises to serve him well. "When I played in the ABA for two years, it really helped me improve my game because all the players are just as quick and athletic," Yue explained, "compared to other Chinese players; I'm used to the physical and fast-paced style of play."
During 2006-07, Yue earned 1st Team All-ABA honors, averaging13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 10.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.0 blocks in 39 minutes for the Beijing Aoshen Olympians. Yue also started in all six games for China in the 2008 Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament in Beijing, averaging 6.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.33 steals in 28 minutes.
Equipped with unusual height for the point guard position, Yue's 6'9" frame gives him a distinct advantage over his backcourt counterparts. He eagerly awaits the chance to showcase his skills for the purple and gold, playing the game he loves. Yue claims, "Ever since I picked up a basketball when I was nine years old, I fell in love with the game."
Yue's outstanding feel for the game and knack for the ball has helped his teams win in ways that won't show up in tomorrow morning's box score. Most importantly, he just values the little things that help the team win close games. "My main goal for this upcoming season is to work hard, give 100% of what the coaches ask me to do, and to be an essential part of the team's success." Yue explained the combination of excellent court vision and solid ball-handling, passing, and defending will enable him to become a key piece of the puzzle for Phil Jackson's triangle offense.
What's most fascinating about Yue is his intense dedication and willingness to learn from veterans Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. "Everyone on the team has made me feel at home, especially the veterans who have been in the league for many years; they've been Sujn Yue Press Conferencehelping me improve and correct the mistakes that I make," Yue said. When asked who his mentor was, Yue did not hesitate to choose Kobe. "I look up to Kobe. He's the best player in this league and in this world; it's a great opportunity for me to learn what he has to offer."
Yue has lived in the US for two years; however, he is still entrenched in the transitional process. Although he is picking it up quicker than most international players, he claims it is a challenge to adjust to the new lifestyle and culture.
When asked what kind of music he listens to, Yue replied, "I'm slowly getting into hip-hop because of my teammates, my favorite rapper is The Game." He has also grown accustomed to the food here. "I like fast food and I love to eat steak," said Yue with a smile.
Many people might have missed the flashes of brilliance Sun Yue showcased in the Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament in Beijing or his two blocks on Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard on subsequent dunk attempts. His competitive nature seethes through his words when Yue jokingly comments that he wants to block Cleveland Cavaliers' superstar LeBron James next. "I got Carmelo and Dwight, so my wish now is to get a block on Lebron since he is one of the best players in the world."
The Lakers are hoping for success as Sun Yue begins his Lakers journey.Yue is looking to become a solid contributor for the Lakers for years to come as he continues to follow his dreams. "The Lakers helped me make my dream come true, so it feels good. Now I just have to concentrate on basketball." Embracing his role-player statues deep in the Lakers roster, Yue hopes to become a key part of the 2008-09 Lakers quest for another NBA championship.
Let the Sun rise in Lakerland!
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