Taruike, China's first mixed blood basketball international

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Taruike Jianiyou, 17, stands out in the U18 national team with his foreign appearance.

Taruike is in athletes' village during China's youth Games on Oct. 22, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua} 

On Monday, Taruike became the first mixed blood player ever playing for a national level basketball team.

Taruike, speaking fluent mandarin with a Beijing accent and little English, grew up with his mother in Beijing. His American father, of Nigerian origin, used to play for NBA team New York Knicks.

"I am a man from Beijing," he introduced himself to reporters.

Taruike sprouted to 1.86 meters just after primary school and it seemed natural that Taruike picked up basketball and started formal basketball training since then.

Now boasting the height of 2.08m and the arm span of 2.18m, Taruike made his name at China's National Youth Games in Fujian province last month and has a group of supporters who adorably call him "Foreign aid".

As a third-string team player in CBA club Beijing, the high school student set a goal for himself -- entering the first team in five years. Actually he already has many communications with first time stars Stephon Marbury and Randolph Morris.

"Marbury and Morris had snatched three CBA league titles in last four years. It's my pleasure to listen to them," said Taruike. "Morris is my idol, I am looking forward to playing like him as a dominate force center in team Beijing." he added.

"It is not easy for me to join CBA league as a player of the great team and I will work harder," Taruike said.

Taruike may even have a future beyond the Chinese domestic league as NBA scouts also laid their eyes on him.

DraftExpress, a scouting website, said the Taruike, weighing at 100kg, "Doesn't have great size, but has a very nice frame, especially in the upper body" and a "solid finisher around the basket".

But Taruike understands that he has much room to improve as DraftExpress also called him "raw and unpolished".

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