|+| Before Nebraska
One of only a handful of Chinese players in Division I basketball this season, Shang Ping (pronounced shung) hopes to make an immediate impact for the Huskers this season. As of September, the only other Chinese players known to be enrolled at Division I schools were 7-2 Max Zhang at California and 6-10 Ji Xiang at Hawaii, both freshmen. Ping is also the first Asian-born player to compete in men's basketball at Nebraska.
With solid size and a tenacious demeanor, Ping is an aggressive player who goes hard every time down the court, one of the many traits that Coach Doc Sadler looks for in a player. Ping has decent range on the offensive end and is a force on the glass. Likely to play both small and power forward, Ping is expected to play a complementary role in the paint to all-conference center Aleks Maric.
Ping showed a physical presence in the paint as a freshman at Illinois Central College in 2005-06, when he averaged 14.5 points and nearly six rebounds per game for Coach Tony Wysinger. His impressive play caught the eyes of coaches around the league as he was named all-conference and all-region at the end of 2006.
After a breakout season, Ping earned MVP honors at the Midwest High School/Junior College Showcase during the summer of 2006 and was selected as a preseason junior college All-American last year before being sidelined for much of the campaign. He was also named the No. 6 small forward in junior college by nbadraft.net before the season.
Despite battling nagging injuries, Ping averaged 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while hitting a solid 52 percent from the field to help ICC to a 27-3 record and final No. 2 national ranking at NJCAA Division II last year.
Ping went to ICC after originally coming to the United States to play at the prep school level in Massachusetts. But Ping instead chose to go to junior college near friends living in Illinois.
Before coming to the United States, Ping played high school basketball at Avondal High School in New Zealand for Coach Anthony Keung. Ping averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game and led the team to a No. 4 national ranking before being named to the Auckland-Waitakere Under-20 Boys Team in 2003. Previously he played for the Chinese Under 18 team from 1997 to 2000 and was a Nike Asian Camp attendee in Tokoyo, Japan, in 1998.
Shang is the son of Ma Min and Shang Guchen, and was born on Dec. 23, 1984. Both of his parents played professional basketball in China. His father, Shang Guchen, is 6-6 and his mother, Ma Min, is 6-0. Shang is majoring in economics at Nebraska.
Ping drew recruiting interest out of junior college from Oklahoma State, Butler, DePaul, Illinois and Pacific before choosing to sign with the Cornhuskers.