Looking to fine tune their roster for the season’s final three months, the Tokyo Cinq Reves have signed former BYU shooting guard Lee Cummard, the expansion team announced on Friday.
Cummard, 27, suited up for the Kyoto Hannaryz last season. His clutch 3-pointer with a second remaining in the decisive playoff mini-tiebreaker propelled Kyoto past the Osaka Evesa and into the Final Four for the first time.
The 201-cm veteran averaged 10.6 points in 52 games last season for Kyoto. He shot 76.1 percent at the free-throw line, 52.4 percent on 2-point shots and 31.1 from beyond the arc. He averaged 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season.
Cummard is a native of Mesa, Arizona. He’ll wear jersey No. 30.
He has also played pro ball in France and in the NBA Development League for the Utah Flash.
Cummard replaces former Auburn University guard Rasheem Barrett, who was released on Friday.
The 26-year-old Barrett averaged 11.6 points in 28 games for Tokyo. He shot 28.1 percent on 3s and 42.6 percent from inside the arc. Before his release, he had a string of eight consecutive double-digit scoring games.
The eighth-place Cinq Reves, who play host to the Rizing Fukuoka this weekend, are 11-17, only three wins behind the sixth-place Chiba Jets, who would be the Eastern Conference’s final playoff team if the season ended today.
In other moves this week, the Shiga Lakestars acquired post player Shelton Colwell, a Missouri State alum whose pro career has included stops in the Netherlands, Austria, Angola and Lebanon.
Colwell, 32, measures out at 203 cm and 107 kg.
The Lakestars (11-17) released big man Alfred Aboya, a UCLA product, who averaged 8.1 points and shot 41 percent from 2-point range in 23 games (one start).
Challenging times: At 5-23, Gunma has had numerous poor finishes in game. But Crane Thunders coach Ryan Blackwell said he’s seen improvement in the first-year team’s play. He noted that “we aren’t closing out games well, which was apparent this past weekend vs. Toyama.”
“We had a chance to win both games but we continue to make the same mental mistakes — bad defensive positioning/missed assignments, giving up offensive rebounds and forcing plays on offense,” Blackwell said.
“The sixth playoff spot is open, but our chances of getting that spot are slipping with every loss. But as long as we continue to improve and mature as a team, regardless of us making the playoffs or not I’ll be happy.”
League accolades: Big man Ira Brown of the Grouses is the Lawson/Ponta Weekly MVP. The Gonzaga product helped Toyama sweep Gunma, contributing 23 points last Saturday and added 27 points and 14 rebounds in the rematch.
For January, Chiba forward Marquin Chandler was issued the monthly MVP award. The San Jose State product led the Jets with 23.5 points and shot 60.7 percent on 3-pointers and 93.8 percent at the free-throw line as they ride a six-game, month-long winning streak into February. He had a month-best 30-point effort against Shinshu on Jan. 5 and knocked down four 3s, the first of three straight games in which he canned four 3s.
Upcoming games: Twenty teams are in action this weekend, with the following matchups on tap: Miyazaki vs. Chiba, Takamatsu vs. Hamamatsu, Ryukyu vs. Osaka, Kyoto vs. Shimane, Shinshu vs. Gunma, Yokohama vs. Saitama, Oita vs. Shiga, Tokyo vs. Fukuoka, Iwate vs. Sendai and Toyama vs. Akita.
For new Osaka head coach Bill Cartwright, this will be his first road series in charge, and he’s leading the Evessa into a series against the defending champion Golden Kings, who have dropped three straight games. Indeed, it’s a rare slump for Ryukyu.
East-leading Niigata (22-8) has the weekend off.
Takushi update: Unemployed two-time Best Five guard Naoto Takushi’s move to Iwate may be on hold indefinitely or not materialize.
“I overheard that he may have gone back to Okinawa,” a league source said Friday night. “Since he ‘quit’ Oita, the league wouldn’t let him sign a contract in Iwate. It sounds like they would have approved a trade or something like that if he was under contract, but he wasn’t. I just caught part of a conversation, so don’t know if he’s sitting out the rest of the season, semi-retired, or suddenly going to reappear somewhere … who knows with the ‘wacky, logic-defying’ bj-league.”
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