Beginning this week The Japan Times will be featuring periodic interviews with players in Japan’s bj-league — the nation’s first pro basketball circuit — which has started its second season. Daiki Terashita of the Niigata Albirex BB is the subject of this week’s profile.
NIIGATA ALBIREX BB PHOTO
Q: Are you surprised by your team’s 5-1 start?
No, we’re rather shocked about the fact that we’ve dropped one. Before the start of the season, we were saying that we would go undefeated for a while. But as a result, (the 5-1 start) is fine.
Q: At what age did you start playing basketball?
When I was a first-year student in junior high school. I didn’t play it in elementary school.
Q: Who is your favorite player outside the bj-league?
I’m wearing No. 15 because I love Vince Carter (New Jersey Nets swingman). I like him as a fan, rather than as a player. I like Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets forward) as well.
Q: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from a coach, teammate or opponent?
(Albirex) Coach (Masaya) Hirose told me that I should penetrate aggressively –because I can’t be stopped easily — during our trip to Taiwan in August. I was glad to hear that.
Q: How enjoyable is it to be a part of the bj-league during its infancy?
We feel that more fans are coming to the arenas this season than last season, and it makes our motivation level higher than when we play in front of few people.
So we would like to make further efforts to bring more fans (to games). When I played last year for the first time, it was like a dream.
Q: What can the bj-league do to become more popular across the nation?
I think we have to appreciate the fans that come out to the arenas to see our best plays.
We have 40 games and sometimes games slack off, when they have less meaning for example. But we don’t play those games, we play at the max every single contest because there may be fans that can only come to one game in a year.
Q: Who is your favorite basketball player of all time? Why?
Like many say, Michael Jordan. I grew up watching him when he was an active player.
His physical ability may not be far different from others, but he had everything — heart, techniques and physical (skills).
He would make game-winning shots in the last minutes of games. I don’t think I want to have the ball in that kind of situation now (laughs).
When I started playing basketball in junior high school, there was the Barcelona Olympics and Jordan was on the U.S. team. It was the start for me.
Q: What has coach Hirose done to help you become a better basketball player?
I’m still mentally weak. I often get strained and passive on the court.
So he has recently told me that I shouldn’t be concerned about results. He said the process is more important and I shouldn’t care about the outcome, and advised me that I should take a shot thinking it doesn’t sink. That made me relieved.
Q: In your own words, what characteristics define your style of play?
I’m confident of my stamina. I don’t get tired much.
So my sales point is that I can play a game that has a lot of transition — a running game, in other words. I play with a lot of energy. That’s my style.
Q: What has been your biggest thrill, your most unforgettable moment, on the basketball court?
Last season’s final, although we lost (to the Osaka Evessa). I had never played in that kind of atmosphere before, and I was shaken because I had gratitude.
Q: What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not playing basketball?
It’s hard to tell, but if I had to, I would say washing my car. I’ve bought a car recently. I also play some video games, too.
Q: Who is the most underrated player on your team?
Naoto Kosuge (shooting guard) has an ability to score points. He is a shooter.
But what really make us amazed about him is his defense, which doesn’t really come out as figures. He does a lot of dirty work like chasing loose balls, and those (things) make our team simply better.
Q: Who is the most exciting player in the bj-league to watch?
I find matching up with is “Helicopter” (John Humphrey of the Tokyo Apache) interesting, because he comes at us real aggressively.
Also, our teammate, Nick (Davis, center), is an exciting player, and he gives a lot of awe to us. He is a rebounding specialist . . . his all-court defense and shot-blocking are amazing, he is not good at shooting, though (laughs).