The Japan Times will be featuring periodic interviews with players in the bj-league — Japan’s first professional basketball circuit — which has entered its third season. Naoto Takushi of the expansion Ryukyu Golden Kings is the subject of this week’s profile.
GOLDEN KINGS PHOTO
Ht: 182 cm
Wt: 85 kg
College: Hosei Univ.
Hometown: Okinawa Pref.
Q: Are you surprised by your team’s 2-2 start (after four games)?
Takushi: No, I’m not. Actually, we’ve dropped games we could’ve won. We played good in the first quarters, the opponents come back and take the lead in the second and third quarters, and we can never overcome it.
So as a team, we didn’t play good when we needed. We should’ve won all the four.
How about your individual game so far?
I’ve not been able to make shots, when I had to. I’ve not sunk difficult shots and free throws . . .
At what age did you start playing basketball?
When I was 13, in the middle of my first year in junior high. I was doing swimming in elementary school, and wanted to play some team sports.
Who is your favorite NBA player?
Since I’m a guard, I see guys like (Phoenix Suns guard Steve) Nash, (New Jersey Nets guard Jason) Kidd, (Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey) Billups, and also (Utah) Jazz’s (Deron) Williams recently. They are all guards but have different types of skills and styles.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from a coach, teammate or opponent?
Good job or something at best. My coach (Hernando Planells) tells me, “Go shoot more aggressively. You better take shots even when it’s a difficult one.”
How enjoyable is it to be a part of the bj-league during its infancy?
Compared to the JBL (he has previously played for the Aisin Sea Horses of the JBL), where firm and sure plays are preferred, in this bj-league we play more aggressively and take gambles more. So I often feel other guys do things I don’t really expect.
Who is your favorite basketball player of all time?
Let’s see, I like guys that can leap high and can do anything up in the air, such as dunking. It make you have some latitude for your game. I wish I could do it, but I can’t (laughs). I also like guys that can shoot well, like (Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk) Nowitzki. . .
In your own words, what characteristics define your style of play?
I can’t make shots, can’t jump and I’m short. I need everyone else on the team to make shots, and otherwise I can’t make shots, either (laughs).
Also, if the flow of the game goes bad for us, I like to be the guy that can step up then.
Who are the most exciting players in the bj-league to watch?
I would say Oita’s (HeatDevils) Andy Ellis and Saitama’s (Broncos) Gordon James. We’ve played with their teams this season, and it might be more interesting if these guys played for us. We Golden Kings play up-tempo basketball.
So if they played for us and Gordon grabs rebounds, we can run. And Andy can play both inside and outside also.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not playing basketball?
Hobbies . . . I only go to Starbucks. I also enjoy watching DVDs, such as “24” and “Prison Break.” Also, I spend some time for studying English and the structure of the human body.