How fun would it be to travel from China to the United States to play in a basketball tournament?
The Lute Olson and Mo Tangara 16U World Basketball Classic Tournament was held at Catalina High School from June 1–7.
Tangara says, “Our goal is that the players make new friends, build a network with one another and learn to respect each other’s culture.” This is the second year of the tournament.
Sixteen-year-old Jiao Boqiao, a 7’1” center from Shanxi Province, started playing basketball at age 12 because his parents encouraged him to play.
"It feels excellent to play in the United States,” Boqiao says. Twelve players came with him along with coaches, officials and a doctor. Boqiao says, “Young athletes should stay focused and enjoy playing. When you focus, you can keep improving.”
Tangara, who has played basketball overseas, explains that the tournament is all about youth development and cultural exchange.
His advice to young athletes is, “Be active and recognize what you have and your talents. You have to use what talents you have because they are a privilege.