There may be a simmering diplomatic battle between China and Taiwan in trying to claim the allegiance and origin of budding Knicks star Jeremy Lin, but there's no debate about where the next Asian guard to crack the basketball scene hails from: He is Chinese, and he is a spectacular, under-the-radar prospect tearing up the mid-Atlantic prep hoops scene. And, just like Lin, this budding star is getting interest from Harvard among other top college hoops programs.
Chris Tang is only a sophomore at Newport News (Va.) Hampton Roads Academy, but he is already one of the traditionally powerful prep program's most promising prospects. At 6-foot-2, Tang can man either guard position, but spends almost all his time for Hampton Roads as the team's point guard. Tang was an all-conference selection as a freshman and has already had performances in which he scored 41 and 42 points … as a 15-year-old high school sophomore.
That's just where the comparisons to Lin begin, and there are plenty of reasons for them, too. As you can see in the highlight reel above, Tang has much of the same exceptional court vision of Lin. He is equally adept at cutting into the lane, taking the game to opposing defenses with aplomb.
What Tang may have as an advantage over Lin is his sheer athleticism. While Lin is an impressive athlete, Tang definitely has more vertical ability and a particularly disproportionate amount of agility and speed when compared with other high school sophomores.
He also has a serious shot that should make him a strong prospect for his versatility in running the point or shooting from the perimeter.
While Lin slipped almost completely below the radar, it seems exceedingly unlikely that a similar fate will befall Tang, who has been living in Virginia with a foster family since arriving in the U.S. as an eighth-grader and is reportedly completely comfortable with life as an American teen.
The sophomore -- who is currently averaging more than 20 points per game -- also stars for the powerhouse Boo Williams AAU program on the summer circuit, where he has already caught the eye of recruiters from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Davidson, among other schools. A strong academic candidate, Tang has also reportedly piqued the interest of Lin's alma mater Harvard.
It's hard to tell whether Tang's development will continue apace, or whether he can reach anywhere near the heights that Lin is now soaring toward. Still, the fact that he's beginning from a higher platform than Lin himself makes him a heck of a candidate to be the next Asian guard to crash the major American basketball scene.