With the versatile skills, strong leadership, and most importantly, the concrete will to win, Takanori Goya certainly plays like the No. 1 overall draft pick.
And despite his Toyama Grouses’ loss to the host Tokyo Apache 87-86 at Ariake Colosseum on Sunday everyone at the contest was reminded how the golden rookie means to the team.
“It was such a pity that we lost today,” Goya said.
Although the Grouses, who participated in the bj-league as one of the two expansion teams for this season, have lost four games in a row, the 23-year-old Okinawa native kept shining.
Goya scored his season-high 17 points, going 5-for-6 from the 3-point arch and 3-for-3 at the foul line. He was also aggressive on cleaning the boards, grabbing four offensive rebounds. He had five rebounds overall.
Goya has averaged 11.8 points and 2.4 assists per game. He has also gone 19-for-39 for a 48.7 percentage from the arch this season.
“As a Japanese point guard, I’m relatively taller,” the 188-cm Goya analyzed his game. “So capitalizing on it, I’d like to make driveins as well as outside shots. “I can make a shot from both outside and inside. That’s what I’m good at.”
However, the figures only tell part of his game, and Joe Bryant, the coach of Goya’s opponent on Sunday, praised him for his intangible ability.
“He’s going to be a special player,” Apache coach Joe Bryant said of Goya. “He can handle the ball and can shoot 3-pointer. And he has a fantasy to wiggle.”
Goya is already a special, iconic player for the Grouses at this point.
During games, Goya clearly express his emotions on the floor and tries to lead the team to the right way as a team leader.
When he was selected as the top draft pick in last May, Goya said he never expected to be picked that high. But months later, Goya seems to be showing no modesty or restraint as most first-year players tend to have. Instead, he acts like a general of the corps now.
“Whether you’re a rookie or not doesn’t matter, I believe,” said Goya, who played a college ball at Nihon University. “As a point guard, I think I’ve got to lead this team.”