Chinese center Han Xu to attend 2019 WNBA Draft
Li Xiang

Han Xu, the center of the Chinese women's national basketball team, started special training in Los Angeles on Wednesday to get prepared for the 2019 WNBA Draft that will happen in April.

The 19-year-old joined WCBA's Xinjiang Tian Shan Magic Deer this season and helped the team rank No.4 in the regular season. After the Magic Deer lost to the Beijing Great Wall 1-3 in the first round of the playoffs, Han acquired consent from the Chinese Basketball Association and departed for the U.S.

Han Xu #11 of the Xinjiang Tian Shan Magic Deer shoots in Game 3 against the Beijing Great Wall in the 2018-19 WCBA playoffs, February 18. /VCG Photo 

Han Xu #11 of the Xinjiang Tian Shan Magic Deer shoots in Game 3 against the Beijing Great Wall in the 2018-19 WCBA playoffs, February 18. /VCG Photo 

Han will focus her training on stamina enhancing and shooting improvement from March 13 to 16 in LA and then went to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to train with NBA Skills Development Coach David Nurse.

Before she left China, Han said that playing in the WCBA for a season helped her realize that she had a lot to work on in stamina, power, skills and other areas. "If I am selected in the Draft, I want to show what a Chinese player can do in the WNBA," said Han.

Han #15 of the Chinese women's basketball national team shoots in the semi-final against the Japanese women's national basketball team in women's basketball tournament at the 2018 Asian Games, August 30, 2018. /VCG Photo

Han #15 of the Chinese women's basketball national team shoots in the semi-final against the Japanese women's national basketball team in women's basketball tournament at the 2018 Asian Games, August 30, 2018. /VCG Photo

Considering that the 2019 WNBA season will start from May 24 and end on September 8, Han will be able to finish the whole season and then come back to China to join a WCBA team if she is selected in the Draft.

According to Xinhua, Han may not be the only Chinese player who will attend the 2019 WNBA Draft. Yang Liwei and Li Yueru from the Guangdong Vermilion Birds also had the intention to try their chances in the WNBA. However, as their team are currently playing the Finals against the Bayi Kylin, it remained unknown whether Yang and Li could go to the U.S.

Han is not the first Chinese female basketball players to join a WNBA team.  In 2005, there was Sui Feifei and Miao Lijie who joined the Sacramento Monarchs, and Chen Nan played for the Chicago Sky in 2009.