Former Houston Rockets prospect Zhou Qi has signed a contract to return to China, a report from the Xinhua News Agency states. The 23-year-old was drafted with the No. 43 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and spent the next three seasons trying to carve out a role on the team’s big league club.
Zhou’s new deal with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers will put him back on the squad that he played with prior to his selection in 2016 and that first season after. It wasn’t until 2017-18 that he arrived in the United States eager to hone his game with Houston’s G League affiliate.
Zhou’s reported $2.8 million contract is the second-highest among domestic players in the Chinese Basketball Association, next only to Yi Jianlian.
Zhou played sparingly in 19 total games for the Rockets across two seasons but played a larger role on the team’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers G League affiliate. He averaged 11.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for that squad in 2018-19.
Zhou was a tantalizing prospect due to the perimeter skill set he combined with an unorthodox, 7’1″, 210-pound frame but was ultimately waived by the Rockets last December.