As I have mentioned many times, the SBL lacks any real identity and loyal fan base here in Taiwan. Tseng is one of the few players who people know. His trademark long hair, tough interior defense, and deadly mid-range jumpshot make him stand out (not to mention there are not too many 204 cm Taiwanese wandering around). When I was chatting with a formal American player in the SBL and mentioned Tseng the former player said, "Oh 'Long Hair', that guy can play, can't he?" It was the only time this former player mentioned a specific Taiwanese player in the SBL. Tseng is player #4 to jump to the CBA, but his presence will be missed the most.
The crazy thing is that there is a chance he will not be able to suit up for the Shanghai Sharks this season as we are already passed the deadline for CBA teams to add domestic players. I hope they make an exception, as it would be a shame for Tseng to lose a season when he is only 26.
Rashad Jones-Jennings: On the first day of the season this guy looked slow, 'offensively-challenged', and like he was two knees past his prime. Fast-forward 10 games and he is putting up historic numbers while leading Pure Youth to a surprising 2nd place in the standings. He is by no stretch the fastest or 'springiest' athlete on the floor but he seems to be in the right place at the right time every trip down the court. He also seems to truly love to play the game, and his enthusiasm carries over to his teammates.
Jason Faulknor: Just as it seemed Faulknor was figuring out how to be successful in the SBL his season was cut short by a serious injury to his back against Dacin. Taiwan Hoops reports that he will be out for six months. This is really too bad, I will miss watching his 1 man swarming defense. Bank of Taiwan has already brought in a replacement, former University of Minnesota-Duluth star John Vaudreuil. Vaudreuil has most recently been playing in another SBL, the State Basketball League in Western Australia, for the Goldfields Giants. He averaged a little over 19 ppg and 9 rpg there last season. In his debut with BoT on Sunday he scored 20 points.
Standings: Through Sunday January 16th.
1) Taiwan Beer 9-1
2) Pure Youth 8-2
3) Dacin Tigers 5-4
4) Yulon 5-5
5) Bank of Taiwan 2-7
6) Taiwan Mobile 2-7
7) KKL 2-7
Ranking the Imports: I will start doing this every other week I think. I will rank every import who plays in the SBL this season. There is no science behind the ranking, just observation as I watch 80% of the games.
1) Rashad Jones-Jennings - For all the reasons stated above.
2) Emmanuel Jones - He has stepped up in the games he has been needed and played 20 minutes or less in blowouts. Hard to say how good he really can be because there have been a lot of blowouts.
3) Marcus Dove - On the first day of the season I would have predicted Dove to be #1 on this list, and there is a chance in the end he will. Dove leads his team in every major statistical category. He just happens to be surrounded by mediocre players.
4) Keith Gayden - Consistency is not his thing, neither is free throw shooting. But when Gayden has been on, he has shown the ability to dominate. Unfortunately Dacin as a team shows as much inconsistency as Gayden.
5) Shawn Hawkins - He is slowly finding his groove again. KKL has gone 2-3 since he has rejoined them, and has been competitive in two of the loses. Hawkins still has not found his shooting stroke, once that happens he and KKL can shoot up the charts.
6) Jason Faulknor - He played hard every game. He has no offensive skill set to speak of, but he kept BoT in some games with his hustle alone. Here's hoping he gets his back sorted out and signs in the bj-league next year. Players like Faulknor seem to thrive in the role of 3rd or 4th import on a team in that league.
7) John Vaudreuil - He looked fine in his first game. We'll see if his skill set complements his teammates more than Faulknor.
8) Sheldon Bailey - There was a reason KKL didn't seem to care when he took off after one game . . .