Riding a seven-game winning streak into 2011, the Osaka Evessa had a near-perfect month in December.
The lone blemish: A 98-95 loss to the Rizing Fukuoka on Dec. 2.
Leading the charge in the final month of 2010 was do-it-all forward Lynn Washington, who scored 41 in the aforementioned loss and averaged 20.9 points and 3.25 assists, and also made a number of passes that led to assists.
The former Indiana University standout, who remains the face of the franchise, is The Japan Times’ Offensive Player of the Month for December.
Washington attempted nine or more free throws in seven of eight December games, including a 16-for-17 effort on Dec. 3 to jump-start the Evessa win streak.
Other top candidates include:
• Saitama point guard Kenny Satterfield, who averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 assists in eight games as the Broncos went 4-4. The ex-NBA point guard leads the league in assist (7.1 per game), and he stayed aggressive throughout the month on the offensive end, earning repeated trips to the charity stripe (he attempted six or more free throws in seven of those games).
• Kyoto swingman Wendell White, who averaged 23.8 points in December to help his team win five of eight games. White had a season-high 45 against Fukuoka on Dec. 26. (Including this week’s tilts, White, the 2009-10 regular-season MVP, has had eight straight games with two or more steals and seven consecutive double-doubles.)
• Miyazaki big man Brandon Cole, who averaged 21.2 points despite his expansion team’s struggles (1-7). Cole scored 29 points twice and 28 in another contest.
• Niigata pivotman Julius Ashby, who averaged 19.4 points as the Albirex went 5-3 in the year’s final month. The Colorado University product also had four 20-point, 10-rebound games in the month.
• Shiga shooting guard Masashi Joho, who averaged 11.3 points in eight games, including 16-, 17-, and 18-point performances. The Lakestars went 4-4 in the month.
Defensive accolade: Displaying efficiency game after game on a deep, talented roster, Jeffrey Parmer of the defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix is the team’s tone-setter. He’s the top rebounder (9.4 per game) and No. 1 in steals (38 total).
In December, he collected 62 defensive rebounds (7.8 per game from under, around or near the foe’s hoop) and nine steals as the Phoenix (20-2) ended the year in a flourish, winning seven of eight games.
Parmer is The Japan Times’ Defensive Player of the Month for December. He’s also the team’s leading scorer (16.6 ppg).
Other noteworthy candidates:
• Albirex forward Zach Andrews was an energetic presence in the low post for his club. He repeatedly crashed the boards and collected 58 defensive rebounds (103 total) in December. He added 12 steals.
• Niigata swingman Willie Veasley, an active, pesky defender, made 13 steals, including four against Toyama on Dec. 4.
• Shimane big man Jeral Davis blocked 20 shots in eight games, helping the first-year club post a 3-5 record. The 216-cm Davis, the league’s leading shot-blocker at 2.4 per game, had two or more swats in seven games, including a pair of five-rejection outings.