Giant School Girl

The 15-year-old Ziyu became famous all over the world in the summer of 2021, when a snapshot of her actions in the final of the national championship gathered several million views on social networks. The young athlete stood out noticeably in comparison with her peers, who were even over her shoulder. That time she scored 42 points and 25 rebounds and brought the title to her team.

In August 2022, Zhang repeated last year’s success and led her team, Shandong, to victory in the U15 Women’s National Championship. In the final match, the team defeated their opponents from Changzhou with a score of 79-77. Ziyu single-handedly scored as many as 62 points (78% of all points scored by the team) and also grabbed 13 rebounds. And a few days before the final, she had a game-high 68 points and 24 rebounds in the same tournament.

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She averaged 34.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game and received the MVP award at the end of the season. Her blocking stats are surprisingly modest considering her opponents are literally breathing down her belly button. It appears, however, that Ziyu is playing solely as a scorer for her club.

Zhang is efficient as far as she can be, but she’s clumsy on the court. She barely jumps and mostly walks. Most of the time she stands under the basket waiting to make the pass, met with absolutely no resistance. Which, of course, isn’t surprising given her height.

“She can jump and run, but she doesn’t need to at this level. Defenders can barely reach her elbow when she raises both arms to put the ball in the basket or grab a rebound. She has so much more to offer than she showed at the junior level.

“Zhang Ziyu is only 15 years old this year, and she will definitely compete internationally in women’s basketball in the future. However, her playing style is too similar to Han Xu’s and she is too young. Therefore, Xu will remain the best choice, at least for the next five years,” wrote the Chinese portal Sohu.

All in all, with proper preparation, Ziyu has a great future ahead of her. If not in the US, then at least for the Chinese national team, which this year won its first World Championship medals in 28 years. But for now, Zhang continues to play basketball and bring his young team trophies. We’ll see how she does in the future.

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