I’m a little late in doing a “Yao week in review,” so I’ll make this update on Yao’s latest activities a “last 10 days in review.”
Working back in time, a week ago Thursday (April 15th), Yao read to some Houston school kids as part of the NBA’s “Read to Achieve” program at a local HEB grocery store.
Click here for more photos from Yao’s reading to the kids.
The night before, Yao attended the Rockets’ final game of the season (played against the New Orleans Hornets), which was also Fan Appreciation Night. Before the game, Yao handed out popcorn to fans….
…then after the game, threw T-shirts into the crowd….
Click here for more photos from Yao’s Fan Appreciation Night activities.
On the Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks front, as you know, they lost their playoff series about 12 days ago against the Guangdong Tigers. The Sharks players, coaching staff, significant others, sponsors, officials from the Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau, etc., got together for a cruise on the Huangpu River.
Click here for more photos from the Sharks get-together.
In this thread among all the photos, we also learn about some of the plans for foreign players John Lucas III, Garrett Siler, and Zaid Abbas. As a team, we learn what took place after the loss to Guangdong and the team’s plans over the next few weeks and months, according to a translation by Raymond from a Chinese article:
– Each player, including the expats, had a 1-on-1 discussion with coach Bob Donewald, Jr. and senior management on April 13 to talk about their individual performances for the season and improvements needed. Players were also free to provide input on how the club could be improved.
– Starting April 14, players have been given 3-5 weeks of vacation time, but the team is still adopting an “active rest” strategy where each player is asked to maintain a certain amount of exercise each day during their vacation: hitting the gym, jogging, cycling, swimming and so on.
– When players report back to the club after the vacation, a scenic spot with historical and cultural significance (tentatively Yunnan) will be chosen for 10 days to 2 weeks of physical training that won’t include basketball activities.
– Basketball training will follow after the physical training, then some invitational games will be played. Select players will be sent to overseas training camps in Taiwan, Australia, the USA and Europe. In addition, players will participate in a series of community/charity activities, including visiting the 2010 Shanghai EXPO, and the counseling of young players.
– After this training, the players will get a break to relax. Then one month before the start of the new season, the players will report back to the club to begin their preseason training.
Finally, it’s reported that the Sharks coach Bob Donewald, Jr. may be tapped to become the Chinese National Team coach, although Yao has him signed to a 3-year contract, but could release him from the contract temporarily. We’ll be following closely to see what happens.