Wonderkid Wang wowing NCAA

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Wang Quanze of China.

China's wait for a new NBA superstar could soon be over.

Since Hall of Famer Yao Ming's retirement in 2011, the nation's hoops fans have been craving one of their own to cheer in the highest echelon of the sport.

Zhou Qi is China's lone representative in the world's best league, but remains a fringe player for the Houston Rockets. Now, however, one Chinese youngster is being touted as a likely successor to Yao.

Unlike the eight-time All-Star Yao and Zhou, Michael Wang Quanze's potential path to the big-time is not via the domestic CBA.

Wang is a freshman currently lighting up the NCAA with University of Pennsylvania.

The 18-year-old scored 14 points to help Penn beat defending champion Villanova 78-75 on Wednesday, and last week racked up a career-high 23 points, including five 3s, to help his team upset Miami 89-75.

Those displays have set the hype machine in motion-and the 6-foot-10 (2.06-m) forward appears equipped to prove it's justified.

"I've said this countless times and I'll say it again: As long as you are a basketball player, you dream of being in the NBA and that's my goal," Wang told Tencent Sports.

"The performances I'm producing now are because of my daily regime of hard training. I felt that training with the team was not enough for me, so I always add extra training when everyone else has gone home."

Wang, originally from Beijing, enrolled at Mater Dei high school in Santa Ana, California, after moving to the US at the age of 14. Four years later, he was accepted by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

He has so far managed to juggle academic life and hoops, although he admits finding the balance hasn't been easy-sometimes even doing his homework in airports en route to or from competitions.

"It was hard for me in the first year of high school after I came to the US because I could not get used to many things," said Wang. "But I was told to step out of my comfort zone and pursue my passion.

"I remembered when I was in the second year of high school, I did not have enough chances to play on court. I thought many times about how to improve and earn more playing time.

"I've heard many stereotypes about Asian people. Every time I hear them, I just want to prove to everyone that I can make it.

"When I stepped onto an NCAA court for the first time, I told myself that I'm one step closer to my dream of playing in the NBA. I know that's just a small step, but I'm working towards my goal."

A number of other Chinese youngsters are chasing the same dream, including the University of California's James Zhao, who last year became the NCAA's first male player to come from a Chinese high school.

"We (Chinese NCAA players) all know that this is a road that we chose and we have to finish," said Wang.

"We have to prove to others that this is achievable. We are very close, personally speaking.

"We all feel the responsibility on our shoulders. We have to try our best."

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