Center Julius Ashby, who helped the Takamatsu Five Arrows reach the championship game in their inaugural season and was an integral part of the Tokyo Apache’s second championship runnerup season in 2008-09, has signed a contract to play for the Niigata Albirex BB, the bj-league team announced on Friday.
Ashby, a Colorado University product, is one of the league’s most aggressive players and a strong inside presence at both ends of the floor. In the 2009-10 season, his second with Tokyo, Ashby averaged 19.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
The Albirex also signed former Butler University guard/forward Willie Veasley, who turns 23 in September. In March, Veasley became the first player in Butler history to play in four consecutive NCAA tournaments, and he started against Duke in the title game on April 5. In recent weeks, he’s worked out at the Indy Pro Am Summer League, competing against NBA players George Hill (Spurs) and Zach Randolph (Grizzlies), among others, according to online reports.
Niigata, which reached the Final Four last season, also signed Senegalese forward Issa Konare, who began playing basketball at age 17. The 30-year-old played college ball at High Point (N.C.) University and has also suited up for the Vermont Frost Heaves, a minor league club. Power forward/center Zach Andrews, who attended Bradley University and has played professionally in Spain, Bosnia and Turkey, also agreed to a contract.