China

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NO
NAME
POS
HGT
DOB
CLUB TEAM HOMETOWN
WGT
15
Nan Chen
C
6-6
01/08/83
Bayi Kylin Qingdao
181
Chicago Sky - signed 2009 (USA)
13
Xiaoli Chen
PF
6-4
02/20/82
Laioning Hengye Fuxin
172
12
Song Gao
PF
6-3
04/16/92
Heilongjiang Chenneng Heilongjiam
178
9
Xin Guan
C
6-5
1/24/87
Guangdong Jilin
 
6
Yanyan Ji
G/F
6-0
05/29/85
Helilongjiang Chenneng Heilongjiang
 
4
Shanshan Li
G
5-10
03/03/87
Jiangsu Jiangsu
 
11
Zengyu Ma
F
6-0
05/07/83
Liaoning Hengye Liaoning
 
8
Lijie Miao
SF
5-10
06/03/81
Shenyang Golden Lions Harbin
150
Sacramento Monarchs - 2009 (USA)
5
Xiaoyun Song
PG
 5-9
12/11/82
Bayi Anshan
143
14
Wei Wei
C
6-9
10/06/89
Guangdong Shanxi
 
10
Fan Zhang
PF
6-1
08/22/84
Beijing Great Wall Beijing
165
7
Shuang Zhao
F
6-2
06/21/90
Shenyang Golden Lions Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang
136
 
2012 Chinese Olympic Team Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Sun Fengwu
Notes: Roster reduced to 12 players above on Jul. 11, 2012. Roster may still be altered until by Jul. 27, 2012. All teams, schools and hometowns in China unless otherwise indicated.

Flag artwork courtesy of www.icondrawer.com

China finished in fourth-place in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The top team in Asia, the Chinese are ranked No. 7 in the world by FIBA. So why does FullCourt.com think they may founder at the preliminary-round stage and may consider themselves just happy to be in London for the 2012 Olympics?

Chinese Flag Chinese Olympic Team quick facts
FIBA World Ranking No. 7
How qualified 2011 FIBA Asia Women's Champion
Key veteran Center Nan Chen
Rising star Center Wei Wei (6-9)
Olympic medals Gold: none; Silver: one (Barcelona 1992); Bronze: one (Los Angeles 1984)
World Championship medals Gold: none; Silver: one (1992); Bronze: one (1983)
Preliminary round group Group A

Consider first that while China is an Olympic regular, it is also a team that hasn't medaled in the last 20 years. Second, China has been in a downward spiral since Beijing. Three key Chinese players retired after the 2008 Olympics, and China didn't even make it out of the preliminary rounds at the 2010 Women's World Basketball Championships, finishing 13th with a 2-3 record.

Third, and perhaps most important, China's performances in friendly matches against the United States and Canada this May revealed a team considerably weaker than the one that surprised many with its strong finish in Beijing. The 100-62 thumping by Team USA was no great surprise, nor was the 98-71 preseason spanking a few days earlier by an understaffed Los Angeles Sparks' team playing without starters Candace Parker, Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones. But going 1-2 in its exhibition series with 11th-ranked Canada was far from a good sign. Perhaps worse was a narrow 75-73 escape against New Zealand, a team that couldn't manage a single win at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. And though China beat Angola, the runt of the Olympic litter, in June, the 68-59 win was not the rout one would have expected.

True, neither veteran 6-5 center Nan Chen nor China's captain and leading scorer, Lijie Miao, who averages 17.9 points per game, played in the friendly against the United States, as Chinese head coach Sun Fengwu endeavored to give his seniors some rest and his newcomers some experience. On a positive note, 6-0 forward Zengyu Ma emerged as a scoring threat in their absence, putting up 20 points against Team USA. Thus, China -- a stereotypical Asian team in terms of its outstanding perimeter scoring, while breaking that stereotype with its considerable height (22-year-old center Wei Wei stands 6-9 -- may yet surprise if the full complement is in top form when they arrive in London.

But Sun hit the nail on the head when he summed up the lessons learned on his team's trip to North America: “We need to see improvement on defense, the physical game and scrambling for the ball," he told FIBA.com. "We are at a disadvantage in our body weight and height compared to the American and Canadian teams."

Add to that the observations that the team seemed a step slow, both on offense and in their defensive rotations, and were more than a little bit foul-prone, and it appears unlikely that China will repeat its Beijing Olympic accomplishments.