The votes have been tallied. Final preparations can now begin for the 2010-11 bj-league All-Star Game in Osaka, which will be held on Jan. 23.
Niigata Albirex BB guard Naoto Takushi and Tokyo Apache guard Cohey Aoki were voted in as Eastern Conference All-Star starters via fan balloting, the league announced on Wednesday. Takushi received 26,389 votes and Aoki had 15,430.
In the frontcourt, Saitama Broncos forward Kazuya Hatano (21,72 votes), Sendai 89ers forward Mike Bell and Niigata center Julius Ashby are the East’s starters.
The East’s reserve guards are Makoto Sawaguchi of the Akita Northern Happinets and Jumpei Nakama of the Tokyo Apache. Super sub Wayne Arnold of the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and Hamamatsu forward Jeffrey Parmer are joined as backups by Toyama Grouses forward Brian Harper.
Notable omissions: Saitama Broncos point guard Kenny Satterfield, the league’s leader in assists, and Tokyo Apache center Robert Swift were not named to the All-Star team. Both players have collected paychecks in the NBA.
Also left out were Akita guard Sek Henry, the league’s No. 5 scorer (19.2 points per game) and Sendai guard Mac Hopson, the fourth-leading scorer (19.4) and No. 3 passer (4.9 assists per game). Also, Sendai center Chris Holm (13.8 points, 11.5 rebounds) was omitted from the squad.
For the Western Conference, Shiga Lakestars guard Masashi Joho and Shimane Susanoo Magic floor leader Takumi Ishizaki comprised the starting backcourt. Joho led all West guards with 14,750 votes.
Two-time league MVP Lynn Washington of the Osaka Evessa, the team’s undisputed linchpin and dominant power forward, was the top vote-getter among all players (32,233), a testament to his popularity across the nation.
Joining Washington in the West’s frontcourt are Evessa standout Billy Knight and Ryukyu Golden Kings big man Jeff Newton, a former Osaka player and one-time MVP who received 28,222 votes.
The West’s seven reserves are guards Shota Konno of the Evessa, Satoshi Takeda of the Takamatsu Five Arrows, Taishiro Shimizu of the Miyazaki Shining Suns and Matt Lottich of the Oita HeatDevils, guard/forward Mikey Marshall of Shiga and forwards Wendell White of the Kyoto Hannaryz and Michael Parker of the Rizing Fukuoka.
(The league added two more reserves to the nine-team West squad this season due to expansion.)
Leading omissions in the West include Ryukyu point guard Tsubasa Yonamine (5.0 assist, No. 2 in the league; 90 assists, 19 turnovers) and Miyazaki forward Brandon Cole (12.5 rebounds, No. 2 in the league).
In the ever-popular Slam Dunk Contest, Toyama’s Harper, Tokyo’s Jeremy Tyler, Osaka’s Lawrence Blackledge, Shimane’s Jeral Davis, Sendai’s Yoshihiro Tachibana, the defending champion and two-time champ Rasheed Sparks will compete for the coveted hardware.
The 3-Point Contest shooters are Fukuoka’s Jun Nakanishi, Hamamatsu’s Masahiro Oguchi, Hamamatsu’s Arnold, Shiga’s Yu Okada (the reigning champion), Osaka’s Knight and former NBA standout Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf of the Kyoto Hannaryz.
As the host team, Osaka receives the honor of having first-year Evessa coach Ryan Blackwell suit up as the West’s bench boss. His assistant is Lakestars coach Takatoshi Ishibashi.
For the East, Apache floor boss Bob Hill, whose lengthy coaching career has included stints with four NBA teams, received the assignment.
Here’s the reason: Though Phoenix coach Kazuo Nakamura’s club takes a 15-game winning streak into this weekend and has a league-best 17-1 record, the league chose to have a coach who hasn’t been the head man in any of the previous four bj-league All-Star Games be given a chance to be the East’s head coach.