- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 25, 2002

From combined dispatches
Speculation that Wang Zhizhi might defect to the United States is just that speculation, said the Dallas Mavericks backup center, who did not return China after the NBA season ended.
Wang says he's been in Los Angeles practicing so that when he does return to the Chinese American Basketball Association, he will be a greater asset to his team.
"I'm not defecting, and I don't plan to defect," Wang told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in yesterday's editions. "My main goal is to get better so I can help China to achieve the highest standing in the World Championships. I really stayed here because I want to work on rebounding and defense, so I can really make an impact next season."
Earlier this month, Wang's whereabouts became a mystery after he missed two deadlines to return to China to prepare for the World Championship games in Indianapolis this summer.
DRAFT: Maybyner "Nene" Hilario could become the "Next Nowitzki" the term used by NBA draftniks to describe a relatively unknown overseas player who can be turned into an All-Star.
The 6-foot-11 Brazilian power forward's stock has been rising in the days leading up to tomorrow night's NBA Draft, and his agent said that he does not expect Hilario to remain on the board past the seventh pick.
Much of the intrigue surrounding this year's draft begins with the fourth pick.
Houston is expected to select 7-foot-5 center Yao Ming of China with the first choice, with Duke guard Jay Williams going to Chicago with the second pick and Duke forward Mike Dunleavy being selected No. 3 by Golden State.
The Memphis Grizzlies and new team president Jerry West will choose fourth, and they could surprise everyone by taking a chance on the 19-year-old who has played professionally the past two seasons for Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro.
SUNS: The Phoenix Suns redefined the duties of president and general manager Bryan Colangelo to strengthen his hand over basketball operations.
In order to allow Colangelo more time to rebuild a squad that won 36 games last season and finished out of the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, the Suns hired Rick Welts as president and chief operating officer.
Welts will oversee all business operations of the Suns and have similar duties in Phoenix Arena Development and Phoenix Arena Sports, two companies that also are owned by the Colangelo family.
Phoenix Arena Sports is the parent company for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League, and is the operator of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.
Welts spent 17 years with the NBA office in New York, working his way up to the league's vice president and chief marketing officer before leaving in 1999.
He is credited with creating NBA All-Star Weekend in 1984 and designing the marketing for USA Basketball's 1992 Olympics "Dream Team."
Colangelo will remain the Suns' general manager, running all basketball operations.


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