It’s hard to miss Harold Yu when he walks into the gym. At 7-foot-3, Yu is the tallest player on the basketball court each and every game. He also plays on the most popular high school team in America, Sierra Canyon High School.
Yu is from Hangzhou, China, and has lived in California for two years now as an exchange student. His mom, Fuying Wang, is 6-foot-6 and his dad, Leping Yu, is 7-foot-2 — so from a young age, Harold knew he was going to be tall and always had a basketball in his hand. “I have always been the tallest kid in my school. My whole life it’s been that way,” Yu told Yahoo Sports.
Yu is the only child and grew up watching and idolizing another tall Chinese basketball player, Yao Ming, who stands at a staggering 7-foot-6. “I got to meet him once and it was the first time I was meeting someone who was bigger than me,” Yu said with a laugh. “He really just encouraged me to keep working and get better every day and that means a lot.”
His sophomore season, Yu played alongside Scottie Pippen Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr. and when he heard the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were joining the team, he couldn’t believe it. “We knew each other a little bit before they both decided to come here just from hooping but I was so excited to play with them,” Yu said.
Yu has seen Bronny James’ game progress since the beginning of the season, noting that the competition in practice helps everyone on the team.
“With my size, Bronny has had to work on his floater to get shots over me in the lane and that’s something I’ve really seen him develop this year. For me, defending guys like Ziaire Williams and B.J. Boston has helped my defense since those two are top players in the country.” Williams and Boston are both five-star recruits with Boston headed to Kentucky and Williams still undecided with USC, Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon and Stanford in the mix.
On the recruitment front, Cal offered Yu as a sophomore and USC and Vanderbilt are showing interest and staying in contact with the young center. He still has plenty of time to make a college decision and expects a handful of other schools to get involved as his senior year approaches.
Sierra Canyon is currently in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs and Yu hopes to be playing in the state championship on March 14. “That’s been our goal this whole year, to win state,” Yu said.
With all the hype and attention this team has been getting this season, they are favored to go very far in the tournament but are not necessarily a lock for the championship game. The Trailblazers will have to get through the competitive southern division, which includes a team that has already beaten them once this season in Rancho Christian High School.
“We know it’s not going to be easy but we’re ready,” Yu said. “We believe we’re the best team every time we step on the court.”
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