South East Melbourne Phoenix sign Chinese star Zhou Qi for two NBL seasons

Zhou Qi will spend the next two seasons with South East Melbourne Phoenix in the NBL Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

South East Melbourne Phoenix have bolstered their roster for the 2022 NBL season with the acquisition of Chinese star Zhou Qi.

Just 24 hours after the Brisbane Bullets signed Chuanxing Liu, who will be the league's tallest ever player, the Phoenix have picked up another Chinese big man in former Houston Rockets centre Zhou.

And it's clear that Zhou still has the NBA on his mind, with the China national team player embracing the same attitude as Boomers star Matthew Dellavedova in viewing the NBL as the best way back to the U.S.

"I'm excited to be joining the South East Melbourne Phoenix, I felt my best chance of getting back to the NBA was to join the Phoenix," Zhou said.

"The whole process has been one of the more professional of my career, I'm very grateful to owner Romie Chaudhari and CEO Tommy Greer for making my decision such an easy one."

Phoenix owner Romie Chaudhari said Zhou's addition showed that his franchise were intent on challenging for the NBL title.

"Signing a Chinese player of Zhou's credentials is a landmark move for the Phoenix and the NBL," Chaudhari said.

"Bringing Zhou to the NBL further expands the league and the club's international presence - this signing makes the Phoenix a real player on the global stage," he said.

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeglier said Zhou's move to the NBL was another sign of the league's growing global recognition.

"We are thrilled that Zhou Qi has chosen to play in the NBL with the Phoenix," Loeglier said.

"To have a player of Zhou's calibre come to the NBL speaks volumes of the league's standing in global basketball.

"Earlier this week Chinese national team member Chuanxing Liu signed with the Brisbane Bullets and Zhou's signing reaffirms the NBL as a prime destination for Chinese players looking to make the next step in their career."