Sat, Apr 15, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Chou Chun-san to coach national basketball team

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Veteran coach and former star player Chou Chun-san, 48, has agreed to take over as coach of the national basketball team, following months of speculation and negotiations between the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association and sports officials.

Chou said he was contacted on Tuesday after the governing body held a selection meeting and agreed to take the top job after a few days of consideration.

The post had been vacant since a judicial investigation into Yen Chia-hua, head coach of the Super Basketball League’s (SBL) Taiwan Beer team, began in February over allegations that he placed underground bets on games involving teams he coached, including the 2015 William Jones Cup.

The investigation continues, and Yen was questioned and released after posting bail of NT$50,000.

Chou had been an assistant coach for Taiwan Beer since 2006 and assumed the team’s top post for the rest of the season and the playoffs following Yen’s resignation in February.

“I spoke with Taiwan Beer executives, who gave me their support,” Chou said in a statement. “After self-reflection, I decided to take over the national team, as I have been in the game for a long time and was a member of the team.”

“It will be a whole new challenge for me, and I hope all the coaching staff and players will work together diligently to undertake this important responsibility,” he added.

“I have a good idea for player selection and those who will fill my coaching staff,” Chou said. “My plan is to promote and cultivate more young players, as well as those with a few years of experience. I want them to improve through actual game experience in international competitions.”

Chou’s main task will be to lead the team to qualify for this year’s FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon from Aug. 10 to Aug. 20, which will require the national squad to finish in the top three at the East Asia Basketball Championship in Nagano, Japan, from June 3 to June 7.

His tenure is expected to continue through to the Asian Games in Jakarta in August next year, with an extension likely if the team performs well at the competitions.

Basketball executives reportedly considered at least five other candidates, including Yen Hsin-shu, Yang Tse-yi, Hsu Chin-che and American coach Charlie Parker, a former NBA assistant coach who is to lead the national team, composed mainly of college players, at the Universiade.

Chou, a well-known figure in the sport, has extensive experience, having played for the “Flying Camel” team in the nation’s amateur era in the 1980s and the Hung Kuo Elephants as a control guard, as well as in Taiwan’s former Chinese Basketball Alliance professional league from 1995 to 1998.

From 2001 to 2003, he played for the Sina Lions in China before returning to Taiwan to play different roles in the SBL.

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