Basketball: Max-ing out at World University Games

I’ve been away for a week, and I return to get word (thanks to an email from GrandPa Bear) that Max Zhang apparently has been transformed into Wilt Chamberlain at the World University Games in Belgrade.

Well, probably not. But the Bears’ 7-foot-2 1/4 redshirt sophomore center is standing the World University Games on its ear, averaging an astonishing 15.0 points, 17.3 rebounds and 6.7 blocked shots through three games.

Here’s his game-by-game rundown:

   — 15 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks in a 90-79 loss to Italy on Friday.

   — 12 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks in a 100-83 loss to Canada on Saturday.

   — 18 points, 22 rebounds and two blocks in an 85-79 loss to Australia today.

Yes, that’s three double-doubles and a triple-double against three legit opponents. Who knows what Zhang might do Tuesday when China faces Iran.

Given that Max totaled 20 points, 17 rebounds and 13 blocks in 15 games for the Bears last season, his performance in Belgrade calls into question the level of competition at the World University Games.

Regardless, this has to be regarded as a significant breakthrough for Zhang, who is sure to return to Cal brimming with the confidence that can only come from achievement. Will be intriguing to see how it translates.

Jeff Faraudo

  • MountainJim

    It’s too bad they aren’t playing the USA team, which would give us a read on the talent level issue. Notwithstanding that question, it’s great that he’s playing well on a bigger stage. Confidence is a big thing in sports.

  • Dmo28

    Confidence is EVERYTHING.

  • Dmo28

    Can you imagine if he were to keep adding weight and developing…all while brimming with confidence?
    Our lineup next year could look like this:

    PG Randle 5’8″
    SG Christopher 6’5″
    SF Robertson 6’6″
    PF Boykin 6’8″
    C Zhang 7’3″

    With Kamp, Gutierrez, Sanders-Frison, Amoke, and Seeley off the bench…..could be something special!

  • David

    I’m pretty sure Zhang isn’t gonna start over Sanders-Frison. No Way.

  • milo

    I was wondering about the level of competition as well. University athletics around the world isn’t quite the same as in the U.S., however these are essentially all-star teams, perhaps on the level of an okay but not great mid-major D1 team and this bodes well for Max.

    As mentioned, confidence is everything and playing with your homies has to help. Lets hope he gets more comfortable at Cal and Monty starts using him. I think he’s going to get minutes in the preseason.

    If he could get 10 minutes a game it could be huge for Cal. It could mean a stronger rotation and a 7’3″ shot-blocker can change the game quickly.

  • Boris

    Great to see Zhang doing well, he has clearly improved but still has a long way to go. No way him or Bak get any playing time this year, and that’s just fine with me.