BEIJING, April 20 -- Chinese forward Yi Jianlian said he would not consider joining the NBA draft this year, the Shenzhen Evening News reported yesterday.
Yi, widely hailed as the next Yao Ming, told the newspaper that he was not yet up to the level of Yao. He said he was not good enough to compete in the NBA and needed more experience from international tournaments.
Many Chinese newspapers reported Tuesday that Yi would join the draft this year, citing the Web site nbadraft.net that claimed Yi, a potential first-round pick, had been granted permission to enter this year's NBA draft.
The Web site claimed the Guangdong Hongyuan team and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) had given Yi the green light to explore this year's NBA draft.
Yi is easily China's best prospect for the NBA. His American style of play sets him apart from other Chinese players, the Chinese newspapers said.
Yi, a Shenzhen native, started for the Chinese Olympic team when he was only 17.
(Source: Shenzhen Daily)