China’s 7-foot-3 teenage basketball star Zhang Ziyu shows promise at youth tournament

Damond Isiaka
2 Min Read


CNN
 — 

At 7-foot-3, China’s teenage basketball star Zhang Ziyu looks to have an exciting career ahead of her.

Playing in her first international tournament this week, the 17-year-old has already created headlines after dominating at the FIBA Under-18 Women’s Asia Cup, helping China remain unbeaten in its first two games.

On Monday, Zhang came off the bench for her international debut and scored 19 points on 9-for-9 shooting in just 13 minutes, helping China brush aside Indonesia 109-50. She also racked up seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) subsequently released a video of her game highlights, showing the youngster towering over opponents and barely needing to jump to dunk the ball.

Given her height advantage, she looked devastating in defense while demonstrating her shooting accuracy from distance. The footage has since gone viral on social media.

“Zhang Ziyu is a cheat code,” a social media user said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

SHENZHEN, CHINA - JUNE 25: Zhang Ziyu of China in action during during FIBA U18 Women's Asia Cup 2024 match between New Zealand and China on June 25, 2024 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

After Monday’s breakthrough game, Zhang is showing no signs of slowing down.

Earlier on Tuesday, the center totaled 36 points on 80% shooting along with 13 rebounds and four blocks as she inspired China past New Zealand 90-68 to maintain its perfect start to the tournament.

China next plays on Wednesday against Japan, with the teenager set to star once again.

FIBA lists Zhang as 7-foot-3 on its official website, meaning she is only one inch shorter than San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama.

Given her height and nationality, social media users have already compared her to NBA legend Yao Ming, who was just three inches taller.

While Zhang has a long way to go before matching Yao’s career, her performances this week will surely pique the interest of teams across the WNBA.

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