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Ex-Rocket Zhou Qi back playing in China

The former prospect is heading back to his old squad.

NBA: Preseason-Shanghai Sharks at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Former Houston Rockets slenderman Zhou Qi, who was waived by the team in December of 2018, recently signed back with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, according to Slam Online.

The Tigers were the team he played on before heading to the NBA Draft in 2016, and they beat out a slew of top European teams for his services. In fact, earlier in the summer, Zhou even hired a European agent with the anticipation of hitting that market, but he’ll instead sign the second-richest deal in the CBA at $2.8 million per season.

Zhou’s size, shot blocking, and skill with the basketball made him an extremely intriguing prospect when he was with the Rockets, and it was a mild surprise when they cut him, as many assumed (including this writer), that the team might be playing the long game and trying to develop the 7’1” big man.

Instead, he ended up playing 19 combined games in two seasons with the Rockets, averaging just 1.3 points in 6.6 minutes per game before his release. He did have some success in the G-League, but the Rockets obviously weren’t alone in their assessment of his current NBA prospects, as no other Association squad has shown interest since he became a free agent.

At only 23 years old, he still has a lot of basketball left to play, and who knows... He might even find his way back to the NBA someday if he can sharpen up his game and pack on some muscle to that 210-pound frame.

For now, though, it’s back to the motherland for Zhou, where when he last played, he averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, while shooting 55.8 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from deep.

We wish him the best of luck. He was fun to have on the Rockets, even though it was a short-lived experiment.