Basketball beyond Biola
Former Biola basketball guard Pierre Zook playing with former NBA player Daniel Gibson in the China Showcase. | Photo courtesy of Pierre Zook
Biola’s starting point guard for the last two seasons, Pierre Zook, played in the Chinese Professional Showcase in Xiamen, China that started on Aug. 19 and ran through the 23. The showcase is designed to be an opportunity for players to get scouted for the Chinese Basketball Association. Zook averaged 14.1 points per game throughout his two years at Biola.
At the end of Zook’s career playing for Biola, he was approached by a coach in the Golden State Athletic Conference about whether he would be interested playing professional basketball overseas. Since then he has connected with an agent who placed him in a Chinese Basketball Association showcase tournament.
A VARIETY OF PLAYERS
The professional showcase is comprised of all teams from the United States and players join with the desire to get signed onto local teams within some level of the CBA. The tournament was round robin style, totaling four games for each team.
Zook went against players of all skill levels, ranging from recently graduated college players to veterans of the National Basketball Association. Famous players in the tournament included former 1998 NBA first round pick and 2006 NBA champion Jason Williams, as well as 2006 second round pick Daniel Gibson.
One of the cultural differences that made playing slightly more difficult for Zook was the ability and popularity of the spectators to smoke in the gymnasium.
“In the gym everyone would smoke,” Zook said. “And especially by the second game, there’d be two games a night, and you could just see the fog above the court.”
One of the unique challenges as point guard trying to facilitate the team in a showcase was encouraging teamwork, as many players were tempted to play selfishly in order to get noticed by the scouts.
“That was the hardest part,” said Zook. “Especially for my experience because our team, there was a couple of guys where the ball would just stick. My goal was just to move the ball, hit the open man and hit the shot when I got an open shot.”
Zook’s best game came later in the tournament against Williams’ team where Zook scored 19 points.
THE NEXT STEP
The next step for Zook in his basketball career is training while he finishes his last semester at Biola, while his agent puts together a video from the tournament for scouts. Another goal of Zook’s is to get his doctorate in physical therapy which he plans to do either instead of or after his professional basketball career.
“I’m not really planning on doing it long term,” Zook said. “But I think it’s always been a goal of mine to do it and I think looking at it and seeing some of the caliber of players, I think it’s doable and I’ve been told it’s doable. It’s just getting the right fit and the connections of who you know and what not, so we’ll see where the Lord leads in that.”