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Veteran forward Cummings joins 89ers

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

A week after forward T.J. Cummings officially parted ways with the Akita Northern Happinets, he moved on to the struggling Sendai 89ers, another Eastern Conference team in the bj-league.

The move was announced Monday by the 89ers (5-10).

The 31-year-old Cummings, son of longtime NBA big man Terry, averaged 19.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in 12 games for Oita.

The signing fills a roster spot vacated by forward Karron Clarke, who was cut. Clarke, who played college ball at DePaul, averaged 8.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in 15 games.

Clarke shot 29.5 percent on 3s, 37.5 percent from inside the arc and 59.5 at the free-throw line.

Sendai coach Bob Pierce said Clarke was “a great guy and teammate who never quite found his ideal role here.”

In other league news, the Shimane Susanoo Magic on Tuesday signed forward Kazuya “J.” Hatano, who played his final game for the cash-strapped Oita HeatDevils on Sunday. In his HeatDevils finale, Hatano played all 40 minutes and contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot against the Takamatsu Five Arrows. On Saturday, he had 12 points, 11 boards and two blocks in 40 minutes.

Hatano, 30, averaged 8.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18 games for the HeatDevils. He previously suited up for the Osaka Evessa (2005-09), Saitama Broncos (2009-11), and Shiga Lakestars (2011-12).

Also Tuesday, center Taj Finger, who played for Oita from 2010-12, joined the Niigata Albirex BB. The Stanford product averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in eight games for the HeatDevils this season.

The Albirex released 206-cm post player Marquise Gray (Michigan State), who averaged 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17 games.