WNBA’s Tamera Young spends off season playing in China

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SHANXI, China — Former Laney High School standout Tamera Young has spent nine seasons competing at the highest level of professional basketball in the United States as part of the WNBA.

While the Port City native gears up for another year with the Chicago Sky — like many other WNBA players — Young is spending some of her off-season overseas after signing with Shanxi Flame of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA).

Young has averaged 21.3 points through the nine games she has played since joining the team just before New Year’s Day. Shanxi Flame sealed a WCBA Quarterfinal appearance with an 86-62 victory on Jan. 8. Young is one of two Americans on the team, including Jewell Lloyd, who was drafted first overall in the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm.  Shanxi returns to the floor against Beijing in early February.

Young is no stranger to playing away from the states. Since 2008, following her rookie season in the WNBA, Young has spent time in Latvia, Turkey, France and Israel. After the winter holidays in 2012, Young signed with Maccabi Ashdod in Israel, won the 2012 Israeli Cup and named Most Valuable Player.

In the 2014 off-season, Young joined the Brazilian Championship, where she played alongside several American players from the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream as part of America de Recife.

Shanxi is a province in North China, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing. The Flames became known internationally when WNBA star Maya Moore announced she would be playing for the team during the 2012-13 season.

She also caught up with former collge coach Kenny Brooks in the days leading up to her Far East trip. Brooks is in his first-year as head coach of Virginia Tech after spending 14 seasons leading James Madison University. There, he instilled many of the lessons learned by Young during her college days playing for the Dukes.

After her stint in China, Young will return for her 10th WNBA season when the schedule tips-off in May 2017. She is the longest tenured player on the Chicago Sky.