Bonzi Wells made his China league debut towards the end of 2008. He scored 48 points and snared 11 rebounds in the debut, helping the Shanxi Zhongyu to a 107-106 win over Tianjin.
Wells went 17-37 from the floor and shot 5-15 on three-pointers. He also had seven steals in Sunday’s game. Some un Bonzi-like numbers if you compared them to his NBA statistics.
Wells said, “I was really nervous before the game and I was only thinking about turning my nerves into energy. I never thought that today I would score 48 points, that is not my normal style.”
Wells averaged 12.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in his NBA career, which he spent with Memphis, Sacramento, Houston and the Portland Trail Blazers. In Shanxi, he is teaming up with former NBA coach Bob Weiss.
A major change to the Chinese league has occurred this season. Last season, each team’s two foreign players were only allowed to play a total of 60 minutes a game, but this year both foreigners can play the entire game. The team had Bonzi coming on board with hopes of moving Shanxi far away from their last-place finish in the 2007-2008 season. Shanxi is currently in seventh place (9-7), but with the addition of Wells, the club is expected to be one of the CBA’s elite.
Along with Bonzi, NBA guard Kirk Snyder, former Indiana center David Harrison and one-time Golden State Warrior Chris Porter, represent the Americans overseas playing in China.