American Donewald to coach China’s basketball team
BEIJING — Bob Donewald has been appointed head coach of China's national basketball team, and the American promises to make the basketball-crazy country proud of the squad.
Donewald told a news conference Friday that "we are going to come together as a unit and we are going to make this country proud."
The former NBA assistant coach with the New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers did acknowledge China needed a healthy Yao Ming.
Yao, who plays for the Houston Rockets, remains sidelined because of a foot injury ahead of the world championships in August in Turkey and the Asian Games in November.
"Yao Ming is one of the greatest players in the world. And with his injury, it is going to make things difficult," Donewald said.
Yao's stint with the Rockets has boosted the popularity of basketball and the NBA in China.
Donewald was hired after leading the Shanghai Sharks, owned by Yao, to the final four of the domestic league in his first season. It was the first time Shanghai had reached the semifinals in eight years.
Former national coach Guo Shiqiang, attacked in the media after China failed to defend its Asian title last August, will stay on as an assistant coach.
Donewald is the third foreigner to coach China's national team following American Del Harris and Lithuanian Jonas Kazlauskas.
He is the son of Bob Donewald, Sr., a longtime college coach in the United States.