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Message from Yao to Yi
Latest Updated by 2007-04-16 10:00:57
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Houston Rockets' All-star center Yao Ming has urged Yi Jianlian to "open himself" to a new lifestyle in the United States.

The 19-year-old from Guangdong arrived in Los Angeles yesterday for a private pre-Draft training camp, where he will be coached by former Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon.

"As far as I know Yi is a little bit shy so his No 1 task in the US is to open himself to others," Yao told Basketball Pioneer Newspaper. "You cannot ignore the cultural difference between eastern and western countries, a lot of people have trouble with that. Yi should, I mean, he has to, open his heart and communicate with the people around him on and off the court, not only teammates, but also coaches, trainers, officials and also US media.

"Good communication will take some pressure off him, it's very helpful."

Teaming up with NBA longtime agent Dan Fegan, Yi will take part in a series of camps held by NBA teams and head to the draft in New York on June 28. He is expected to play the NBA summer league afterwards, something that Yao believes will be beneficial.

"From my experience, it's very important for him to play in the summer league. I think that will be good for him and his team, whichever team drafts him. I was not in the summer league the year the Rockets drafted me, and I had a very tough start."

Yi has led his team Guangdong Tigers to three consecutive titles in Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and despite a loss to Bayi Rockets in this year's finals, his 25.4 points and 11 rebounds per game ranked second-highest in the league behind former NBA player Wang Zhizhi.

He represented China at the Athens Olympics and World Championships last year in Japan, but has yet to shine against stronger international opponents.

"He needs more muscle, that's for sure," Yao told the paper. "He lacks the upper body strength and the back to the basket moves at power forward and is a bit long and rangy for the three.

"Despite his vast improvement, he needs to continue to develop his upper body strength. Although he doesn't shy away from physical contact he can get disrupted by rough post play and struggles to maintain his position in the low post as opposing defenders tend to push him out."

In last year's draft an international player, Italian Andrea Bargnani, was taken first pick by Toronto Raptors. This year the draft is considered much stronger, with US college prospects Greg Oden and Kevin Durant battling for first pick. Yi is predicted to go between 6th and 12th.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China Daily Website
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