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Basketball: Zhang to miss fall semester while playing for Chinese national team

The Golden Bears will have to do without the tallest player in school history for at least the early portion of the 2010-11 season

Junior center Max Zhang has remained in China to play for his national team and will not be with the Bears during the fall semester.

Zhang, who stands more than 7-feet-2, averaged 3.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and led the team with 37 blocked shots last season.

But he played late this summer for the Chinese national team at the FIBA World Championships and now has the chance to compete at the Asian Games in November.

“This was something Max couldn’t afford to pass up, and we understand that,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “This has always been a lifelong dream of his, and we’re wishing him the best of luck.”

Zhang, who is not enrolled in school this semester,  could return to play for Cal during the spring semester, according to the school. If so, he would presumably arrive in time for the entire Pac-10 Conference schedule.

Jeff Faraudo