Xin Li couldn’t speak English when he came to the Hun School from Qingdao, China in the fall of 2010.
But he did know how to play basketball and the powerfully built 6’5, 245-pound forward has grown into a key contributor for the Hun boys’ hoops team.
Early in his career, Li’s game was raw but his muscle and hustle made him a crowd favorite. This winter, Li has refined his game, developing a nice shooting touch to augment his physical play.
Last Saturday in a 65-46 win over Princeton Day School in a consolation contest at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT), Li displayed his versatility.
Li scored 13 points, hitting some long range jump shots to go along with some good work down low as the Raiders pulled away from their crosstown rival.
With Hun having lost its first four games of the season coming into the contest, Li and his teammates were looking to make a statement.
“We just wanted to prove that we are a good team,” said Li, who grabbed five rebounds in the victory.
Li has put in extra effort to make himself a good player. “At high school, we have a good coach [Jon Stone] and he has always taught me to work hard every day and push myself,” said Li. “I can’t change my teammates but I can change myself.”
Combining with 6’8 senior forward Josh McGilvray and 6’7 post-graduate Remi Janicot, Li has helped give Hun a formidable inside game. “We have three big guys and we can shoot, dribble, and move faster than the defense,” said Li.
Hun head coach Jon Stone was glad to see his team move into the win column on Saturday.
“It is nice to get your first one,” said Stone. “It is definitely good to win. Hopefully we can come together a little bit as a team and continue to improve every game, that is our goal.”
Stone saw progress at both ends of the court in the victory over PDS. “I think some of our offensive execution was pretty good,” said Stone, whose team executed well on Sunday when it beat Lawrenceville 73-45 in the PSIT fifth place game to improve to 2-4 and will look to keep on the winning track as it competes in the Tip-Off Classic from December 21-22.
“We did a really good job of getting the ball inside. We did a pretty good job of sharing the ball as well offensively. The press was pretty good at times, especially in the second half. It worked well for us.”
Hun is getting some good work from Li. “He has the ability to score in different ways, he can do a lot of different things as well,” said Stone in assessing Li’s progress.
“He can really rebound. He is a big presence out there. From the time he first got here, he has improved so much. He is going to be a really good college player.”
Li, for his part, is looking to be an even bigger presence for the Raiders.
“I have to keep improving everyday,” said Li. “I need to open my mouth on defense.”