When you’re first at anything, like graduating from college in your family, being the oldest sibling, or even carrying an entire country on your back for basketball, naturally the bar is set high. Let me ask you this: how difficult is it to come second behind the greatness of that person or even third. In most cases being compared to those who came before you is inevitable. There is no place where this is more visible than in sports. You can’t have Kobe without comparison to Jordan, Chris Paul to Isaiah Thomas, LeBron James to, well LeBron James, or Chris Tang to Jeremy Lin.
Oak Hill Academy, a little preparatory Baptist affiliated high school, in Mouth of Wilson, VA just might have another special player. Never heard of this prep school before? Allow me to assist you with a few names: Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, and Brandon Jennings, even Jerry Stackhouse. All are products of this basketball powerhouse with a school principle:
Deep down inside, all children are good. Regardless of academic ability, every child is capable of success. All children would rather succeed than fail. Once a child gets a taste of success, he or she will want more.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard of Oak Hill Academy, right?
Chris Tang. Have you heard of him? Well, his basketball “hoop dreams” was set in motion from the love he found in watching the great Yao Ming. While growing up, Tang fell in love with the game and like most Asian kids he went to the playgrounds around his neighborhood to master Ming’s moves. In a recent interview Tang had this to say about watching Yao playing for the Houston Rockets;
“When I got out of school, I’d go straight to watching the Rockets on the internet. My dad used to get mad at me because I would skip meals sometimes to watch the fourth quarter of a game, but I couldn’t stop. It was crazy just how much I loved to watch those guys play”.
In China, like most overseas countries, if a basketball player has the talent and skill-set he can turn pro at a very young age, and earn money for his family. Unlike here in the States you must play at least one year of college basketball or be removed from high school at least one year after your graduating year. I hear Tang was that good to have the option of entering the Chinese National basketball program or play for a local club team.
Fast forward a few years and Chris Tang now plays for Oak Hill Academy. The comparisons to Lin will only increase now that he’s at a more visible Prep School. Currently, Tang has several colleges with strong interest in signing him from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, to Stanford, Oregon and even Jeremy Lin’s former college Harvard.
Transitionally, Oak Hill Academy basketball program attracts local kids from around the country. Most of them come with very high potential and the ability to play Division I college ball; they just need polishing. However, with the increase of basketball being more globalize stories of international kids, like Chris Tang, coming to play for Prep Schools shouldn’t be a shocker. What is shocking, to me perhaps, is that we are quick to find the next ‘whoever’ because it’s a great story. Should I not be so surprised by sports comparison being made because, like the phrase goes, history often repeats its self, we all pattern our games after somebody, right? So for the 2nd coming of...enter a name here I’m sure it won’t be hard...keep working to mimic your favorite player because your time will soon come.
Until next time, live out your DREAMS with some Determination. Put forth Real Efforts. Given your Abilities Means you will have Success.