Guangzhou Loong Lions Bolster Lineup With 2 North American Players

By Ryan Gandolfo, September 10, 2019

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Coming off a disappointing season in which they didn’t reach the playoffs, the Guangzhou Loong Lions announced last month the signing of two new additions to the team. Andrew Nicholson (forward) and Keifer Sykes (guard) are set to start for the Loong Lions as the Canton basketball squad looks to rebound after a tough ending to the previous season.

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Image via @龙视篮球俱乐部/WeChat

Nicholson, a former No. 19 overall NBA draft pick in 2012, moved to the Middle Kingdom in 2017 to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers. After logging over 22 points and 8 rebounds per game, he signed with the Fujian Sturgeons last year. At 29 years old, Guangzhou marks Nicholson’s third China stop where he looks to play an integral role for the Loong Lions.

READ MORE: 5 Top NBA Stars to Ball Out in the CBA

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Image via @龙视篮球俱乐部/WeChat

Although Keifer Sykes lacks the NBA pedigree of his new teammate Nicholson, he can flat-out ball. The Chicago-native point guard makes his first foray into the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) after one-year stints in Italy, Turkey and Korea. Although he’s flirted with making NBA rosters in years past, the 25-year-old has yet to see any regular season action for an NBA team. With extensive international basketball experience, Sykes looks to fill the void that was left after Kyle Fogg’s departure to the Beijing Royal Fighters following last season.

The 2019-2020 Loong Lion’s season officially kicks off on Sunday, November 3 as Guangzhou plays host to Shanxi. The Loong Lions share a division with two Beijing teams, Royal Fighters (formerly known as Fly Dragons) and Ducks, as well as the Shanghai Sharks and Shenzhen Leopards. The division has gone through quite a shake-up in player personnel, with Jimmer Fredette’s departure from Shanghai and Jeremy ‘Linsanity’ Lin’s recent signing with the Beijing Ducks.

The Loong Lions will head stateside next month as they prepare for a preseason game with NBA Eastern Conference powerhouse, the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are taking their talents to the PRC for two exhibition games which are sure to excite Chinese NBA fans.

READ MORE: NBA Champion Jeremy Lin is Joining the Beijing Ducks

[Cover image via Wikimedia]

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