EUROBASKET HAS THE PLEASURE OF SITTING DOWN WITH FIBA ASIAN VETERAN CHRIS GARNETT, RECENT ADDITION TO TOCHIGI BREX IN THE JAPANESE JBL. THE EXPERIENCED BIG MAN WAS SIGNED TO HELP SOLIDIFY THE POST AND PROVIDE LEADERSHIP TO THE CLUB BY VIRTUE OF HIS SUCCESS IN THE REGION. WE SAT DOWN BRIEFLY WITH LAST YEAR'S ALL ASEAN LEAGUE BIG MAN.
EU: Chris, it is such a pleasure seeing you now in Japan's Top League. How have you found it here so far? CG: Thank you. First, I must say that Japan is an incredibly beautiful country, and then I must say that Japans Top League has a lot of talent. Basketball is certainly up and rising here and Japan should be recognized around the world for having very competitive basketball in this country. Talented players like Yuta Tabuse, the first and only Japanese player to play in the NBA, J.R. Sakuragai, Chris Moss, Ivan McFarlin, and many others right here in Japan who can easily compete and prevail in top-notch American, European, and Asian leagues.
EU: We see that the Club opted to go with a savvy vet to start the second half of the season. How smoothly or not has the addition to the team been? CG: Transitioning to a new Club can prove to be a bit rough at times due to the number of plays that I had to learn in a short timeframe, as well as learning team members style of play, basketball habits, and personalities. Its about meshing and bonding with your team members to create a winning chemistry on and off the court. I hope to be an asset to my Club by bringing the experience, work ethics, and skills needed as the backbone of any winning team.
EU: We can see from the stats that you are seemingly not getting much the on the floor, although each time you play 10 minutes you are only 1 rebound or 1 point away from a double double. Have you any thoughts on this? CG: Coach Palmer, who is an outstanding coach, has certain plays that he likes to run and those plays do not necessarily call for a lot of interaction on my part right now. The JBL limits foreign players to only one in the game at any given time, and Ivan (the other foreign player) does a great job when I am not in the game. So, for every minute that I am in the game, I try to produce like we are up 1 with 30 seconds left in the game. Head Coach knows best, and I am hopeful that my playing time will increase.
EU: From a mathematical standpoint, you are averaging 1 point and 1 rebound for every minute and a half played. That should equate into All Star numbers given there is adequate time on the floor. Is the club still familiarizing themselves to you? CG: I agree. That should equal to some big numbers, and I am optimistic that I will be given adequate time on the floor. In the meanwhile, the familiarity between me and the Club has been solidified.
EU: I have heard and read quite a bit of things coming from the ASEAN League questioning your return there. Have any of the media, press or fans from last season reached out to you? Seeing that you are now in the Top League in the Region, what are your thoughts on returning to familiar haunts? CG: While the media or press or fans have not reached out to me, I thoroughly enjoyed playing in the ASEAN League. If the opportunity presented itself with the right circumstances, there is a possibility that I might consider it. The ASEAN fans and coaches were some of the greatest. I can only hope that playing in the Top League in the Region will have its rewards.
EU: Seven rounds and fourteen games remaining in this second half of the season, do you feel that the Club can make the needed adjustments to reach the playoffs? Currently Tochigi is sitting only 2 games behind Panasonic for the 4th place in the League. Having seen the Clubs here, what are your thoughts on reaching 4th? CG: There is a tremendous amount of talent in this League, and everybody is playing tough, hard ball to make the playoffs. For every best foot put forward by the other Club, Tochigi has got to bring one better. I am ready, willing, and able to make any adjustments needed to help take Tochigi to the playoffs and to the championship. As a Team and Club with a smart Head Coach, I know we can do it.
EU: There has also been talk of a spring/summer signing in Latin America for you. How much interest do you have in another 10-11 month stint of professional play? Last year, we saw you depart the ASEAN League and finish the regular season in Turkey only then to depart for Qatar for Cup competition. CG: Im laughing hysterically because the rumor mill is going 150 mph. Under the right circumstances, another 10-11 months of play would be very much welcomed. I can easily adapt to most situations. Right now, I have several irons in the fire as far as the spring and summer and I cant pinpoint exactly where I will be or what I will be doing. After the JBL season ends, I will focus more on which direction I will be headed.
EU: Would you like to leave anything with us as you head into the stretch run? CG: I cant leave without giving a shout-out to my fan base and to my friends in distant lands where I have traveled. I want to say thank you to all of my wonderful fans and friends who have given of their time and energy to come together and support me and my teammates now and over the years. You put the F in Fans when it comes to loyalty, support, and commitment and I love you all. And Sports Fans, I read in the Health Prevention magazine that there are actual health benefits of being a sports fan. Being a sports fan inspires you to get active; watching Live Sports is a workout in itself; you will live longer; its good for your relationships; and it will make you smarter. So, until we see each other again, Good Health To You!
EUROBASKET WOULD LIKE TO WISH CHRIS THE BEST AS HE MAKES THE PUSH FOR STRONG PLAYOFF POSITION IN THE JAPANESE JBL. WE KNOW THAT ONLY GREAT THINGS WILL COME WHERE HE IS CONCERNED. WE ARE ANXIOUS TO SEE THE TOCHIGI CLUB AND THE 2ND HALF OF THE JBL. BEST WISHES CHRIS!
More uncertainty trailing former league stats - 1 day ago
According to Japan times, should statistical records from the bj-league, the JBL and its successor (NBL), the JBL2 and its successor (NBDL) be kept handy and recited frequently for the B. League? Or should the accomplishments of players and teams in Japan's men's basketball circuits be stored away and ignored, with the slate wiped clean for the upstart circuit? Statistical accomplishments help fans and the media gain knowledge and appreciation for players and teams, so starting from scr... [read more]
According to Japan times, should statistical records from the bj-league, the JBL and its successor (NBL), the JBL2 and its successor (NBDL) be kept handy and recited frequently for the B. League?
Or should the accomplishments of players and teams in Japan's men's basketball circuits be stored away and ignored, with the slate wiped clean for the upstart circuit?
Statistical accomplishments help fans and the media gain knowledge and appreciation for players and teams, so starting from scratch is not a completely realistic option here.
What the vast majority of the players, coaches and teams have done in years past will help to explain their identity as the 2016-17 season unfolds.
For instance, veteran forward Michael Parker, a newcomer this offseason to the Chiba Jets, was one of the most prolific scorers in both the bj-league with the Rizing Fukuoka and Shimane Susanoo Magic and provided a similar offensive spark for the NBL's Wakayama Trians and Toyota Alvark in past seasons. Parker's 53-point outburst for Fukuoka against the Takamatsu Five Arrows on Nov. 7, 2010, registered as the second-highest point total in bj-league history. Le'Bryan Nash eclipsed Parker's mark with a 54-point game for the Fukushima Firebonds on Feb. 28 against the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
Should those performances - and other similar impressive feats - be a part of the general talk about what teams in the B. League's new first, second and third divisions aim for?
The general view here is that there will be some recollection of past streaks, both good and bad, stats and trends. But inertia will carry the B. League away from broad comparisons to past teams and eras, at least right away in this new era.
One concern, though, would be that league and team officials don't rely on enough historical data to paint a reliable picture of who's who and what teams and individuals have accomplished or failed to do in past seasons in Japan.
Teaming up: Tohoku has been a growing stronghold for pro basketball since the Sendai 89ers set up shop in the bj-league in 2005, and were followed by four new teams - Akita Northern Happinets, Iwate Big Bulls, Aomori Wat's and Fukushima Firebonds - since 2010.
The region's other pro team, the Yamagata Wyverns, will team up with the aforementioned five clubs on July 20 for a planned basketball clinic in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.
The events in Ishinomaki will be held at the Aoba Junior High School gymnasium as part of the B. League's efforts to assistant with the Great East Japan Earthquake's reconstruction. Actor Masatoshi Nakamura and Link Tochigi Brex guard Yuta Tabuse are also scheduled to participate in the festivities and planned instruction for local elementary and junior high school students.
Leader returning to Lakestars: Standout power forward Julian Mavunga is back with the Shiga Lakestars for a second season, the team recently announced.
Mavunga, a Miami (Ohio) University alum, averaged 19.5 points in 51 games (49 starts) last season for the Lakestars.
'I'm excited to be returning to the Shiga Lakestars,' Mavunga, 26, said in a statement released by the team. 'I had a lot of fun last year competing at a high level with my teammates and my coach. We will all be excited to be a part of the new B. League and I look forward to competing all season and bringing success to the club.'
Pomare update: The Kanazawa Samuraiz, coming off a playoff appearance in their lone season as a bj-league club, have brought back dependable veteran Gyno Pomare to add continuity to the frontcourt as the team makes the transition to the B3, aka the third division.
Pomare, a University of San Diego product, bounced around the bj-league for more than half a decade with one-season stops with the Sendai 89ers (2009-10), Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix (2011-12), Kyoto Hannaryz (2012-13), Iwate (2013-14), Aomori (2014-15), then went to Kanazawa for the team's inaugural season.
In a news release, Pomare said his goal is to help the team earn promotion to the second division and then the first division.
In a follow-up interview with The Japan Times, Pomare said: 'I have a chance to grow with this team, and hopefully see it move up from B3 to B2. That is a positive.
'Head coach (Yukinori) Suzuki is the No. 1 reason to come back. It was very nice to feel wanted. He along with the (team) president met with me after the season in order to try to re-sign me. Other teams have wanted to sign me back, in the past, but Kanazawa really did all they could in order for that to happen.
'Secondly, almost all of our Japanese players are returning. We have proven ourselves already this season in being able to compete in the bj-league. We should be able to be very successful playing in B3.
'Lastly, the city, the fans, and my wife being able to walk back into her work, all made it an easy choice for us to return.'
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Pomare noted that 'all things pointed to return to Kanazawa and winning in B3 and moving up to B2 is the ultimate goal.'
He added: 'I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead, and know with our team and coaching, we have a great chance to do big things.'
Las Vegas Summer League: Through Wednesday, Nash, the bj-league's leading scorer in its final season (2015-16), had appeared in four Summer League contests for the Milwaukee Bucks, getting limited playing time (averaging 3.0 points and 5.8 minutes).
He saw 10 minutes of court time Wednesday in an 81-64 loss to the Dallas Mavericks and had five points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
On Monday, Nash was held scoreless against the Memphis Grizzlies.
New boss in Takamatsu: Joe Navarro, who led the Hiroshima Lightning during their one season in the bj-league, was hired recently as the Takamatsu Five Arrows' new coach.
Navarro also worked as a Concordia University assistant from 2001 to 2012 in Portland, Oregon.
Navarro replaces Hiromichi Tsuda, who was the Takamatsu coach for one season.
The Lightning will not be a part of the B. League during the upstart circuit's inaugural season.
Another stop: Well-traveled mentor Koju Munakata takes over as the next coach of the Yamagata Wyverns, the second-division team recently announced.
Munakata, 49, was an assistant and head coach for Toyota in the old JBL and later served as the first sideline supervisor in Aomori Wat's history (2013-15) before a one-season stint running the show for the Shinshu Brave Warriors concluded in the spring.
Third-division moves: The Rizing Fukuoka have handed the coaching reins to a familiar face, bringing back Atsushi Kanazawa.
Kanazawa directed the team to a championship runner-up finish in the bj-league's 2012-13 campaign. He then left the team and coached the JBL2's TGI D-Rise for a season, followed by two seasons with the relocated franchise, then called the Passlab Yamgata Wyverns in the NBDL (the JBL's successor). Kanazawa also served as Takamatsu coach for the 2010-11 season. . . .
Elsewhere, coming off a 5-47 season in the bj-league, the Saitama Broncos have hired former American Collier St. Clair as their new coach.
St. Clair, 39, has worked as an assistant at both Southern Polytechnic State and Clark Atlanta University before spending the past five years in the United Arab Emirates as both an assistant and head coach.
According to Japan times, veteran coach Bob Nash will remain at the helm as the Toyama Grouses enter a new era. The 2015-16 bj-league championship runner-up squad announced last weekend that Nash would remain in charge for the upcoming season, when Toyama begins play in the new B. League's 18-team first division. The B. League season tips off in late September. The first division also features the Ryukyu Golden Kings, who captured the final bj-league title by beating Toyama on May 15 at... [read more]
According to Japan times, veteran coach Bob Nash will remain at the helm as the Toyama Grouses enter a new era.
The 2015-16 bj-league championship runner-up squad announced last weekend that Nash would remain in charge for the upcoming season, when Toyama begins play in the new B. League's 18-team first division.
The B. League season tips off in late September. The first division also features the Ryukyu Golden Kings, who captured the final bj-league title by beating Toyama on May 15 at Ariake Colosseum.
The Grouses have a .726 regular-season winning percentage (151-57) during Nash's four seasons on the bench. They have advanced to the postseason four times and appeared in two Final Fours.
A former University of Hawaii player, assistant coach and head coach, Nash, 65, was named the bj-league's 2015-16 Coach of the Year and guided the Grouses to the Eastern Conference regular-season title with a 39-13 record and their first appearance in the title game.
During Nash's pro career, he played for the NBA's Detroit Pistons (1972-74) and Kansas City Kings (1977-79), and also saw time with the ABA's San Diego Conquistadors (1974-75) and the Alvik basketball club based in Stockholm, in the Swedish League (1975-77).
Iwate Big Bulls add Baker to their roster - 2 days ago
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Iwate Big Bulls (B League D2) added to their roster 25-year old Canadian swingman Jordan Baker (201-104kg-91, college: Alberta). He played last season at Galitos-Tley in Portuguese LPB league. In 33 games he recorded very impressive stats: 15.7ppg, 8.3rpg (#4 in the league), 2.1apg and 1.5spg. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Portuguese League Honorable Mention and to the All-Star Game. The previous (14-15) season Baker played at Weissenhorn Yo... [read more]
Iwate Big Bulls (B League D2) added to their roster 25-year old Canadian swingman Jordan Baker (201-104kg-91, college: Alberta). He played last season at Galitos-Tley in Portuguese LPB league. In 33 games he recorded very impressive stats: 15.7ppg, 8.3rpg (#4 in the league), 2.1apg and 1.5spg. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Portuguese League Honorable Mention and to the All-Star Game. The previous (14-15) season Baker played at Weissenhorn Youngstars (ProB) in German league where in 21 games he averaged remarkable 15.3ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.0apg and 1.6spg. He helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in the league. Baker was also a member of Canadian international program for some years. He played for Canadian Senior National Team between 2011 and 2014 and previously for University National Team between 2011 and 2015. Baker also represented Canada at the World University Games in Gwangju (South Korea) last year. His stats at that event were 8 games: 8.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 52.6%. Baker has played also professionally in Canada (Golden Bears). He attended University of Alberta until 2014 and it will be his third season as a professional player.
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