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Franchise’s 100th victory gives Hannaryz positive experience to build on

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Rebounding from an 0-8 start this season, the Kyoto Hannaryz then rattled off eight straight victories to return to respectability.

A quick update: In their last 10 games, they’ve gone 5-5. And the Hannaryz (21-16) currently occupy sixth place in the bj-league’s 10-team Western Conference, picking up their latest victory, a 92-84 overtime triumph, over the visiting Akita Northern Happinets on Sunday before 1,306 spectators at Hannaryz Arena.

Sunday’s game gave the Hannaryz their 100th regular-season victory in franchise history in their 192nd game. (Kyoto played its first-ever game in October 2009, when ex-NBA forward David Benoit was the bench boss, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the No.3 overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft was the team’s biggest name.)

The Hannaryz went 17-35 in their inaugural season (Benoit was fired before the season and replaced by Kazuto Aono), followed by a 28-20 campaign in 2010-11 under Aono, who was not brought back for a second full season. Abdul-Rauf retired.

In 2011-12, Honoo Hamaguchi’s first in charge, the Kansai squad went 34-18 and reached the Final Four for the first time in franchise history.

After Sunday’s win, Hamaguchi, the longtime Sendai 89ers coach before moving on to Kyoto said, “It became a tough game today. We were able to (maintain) patience well as a team. Since it has become a very good team situation, we intend to continue to work hard (as a team).”

Ex-NBA center Marcus Cousin, who attended the University of Houston, leads Kyoto in scoring (14.7 points per game) and forward David Palmer, who has won titles as an Osaka Evessa and Ryukyu Golden Kings standout, is second at 14.4 ppg. Gyno Pomare is scoring 11.9 ppg and Yu Okada 11.2. Guard Masaharu Kataoka, in his first season with the club, has a 9.6-ppg average and Jermaine Boyette is at 8.1.

Stressing substance over style, Hamaguchi’s blue-collar team has 642 assists and 480 turnovers through Sunday. A patient approach on offense, highlighted by crisp passing in its halfcourt set, has paid off for Kyoto, as evidenced by its 50 percent shooting from inside the arc (949-for-1,898). Guard Kyosuke Setoyama, who has played for the franchise since the start, has 93 assists this season against 36 turnovers. His six assists and court smarts were effective elements in victory No. 100.

Looking ahead: New Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix coach Tomoya Higashino brings his team to Yokohama International Swimming Pool for a Tuesday-Wednesday series against the host Yokohama B-Corsairs.

The series opener tips off at 7 p.m., followed by the Wednesday rematch at 1:30 p.m.

The Phoenix (24-16 overall, 10-8 on the road) have been idle since a series-ending 96-92 loss to the Tokyo Cinq Reves on March 10. The Phoenix earned a split against Tokyo, Higashino’s first foe as a bj-league coach.

Hamamatsu, the fifth-place team in the West, play four games this week, taking on the host Shiga Lakestars on Saturday and Sunday to wrap up their extended road trip.

Yokohama (26-12) is one of the league’s top squads at home, winning 14 of 20.

Jeremy Tyler update: After getting released by the Atlanta Hawks on March 6, many wondered where former Tokyo Apache big man Jeremy Tyler would play next.

He’s back with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Development League team he played for in four games earlier this season before getting recalled by Golden State in January. Tyler returned to Santa Cruz on Sunday, former Apache coach Bob Hill told The Japan Times.

Pressed to guess where the 21-year-old Tyler would wind up next before his return to Santa Cruz was made official, a former NBA scout told this newspaper, “I’d guess the D-League if he thinks he should be in the NBA, but I can’t see him wanting to live the D-League lifestyle — travel, salary, etc. A good adviser might send him to Europe or China to make some money and prove himself. A lot may depend on how fast he’s burning through the money he’s made.”

By the numbers: Chiba forward Marquin Chandler’s streak of 17 straight double-digit scoring games ended in the Jets’ blowout loss to the Ryukyu Golden Kings on Sunday, when he was held to seven points. That output matched his season-low total for points. Chandler is averaging 20.9 ppg. … With 11 turnovers on Sunday in a wild overtime game against the host Saitama Broncos, Miyazaki Shining Suns post player Abdullahi Kuso notched a triple-double (32 points, 21 rebounds). Kuso tied the league mark for turnovers, according to the 2012-13 league guide book, matching a number reached by Mamadou Diouf of the Saitama Broncos against the Oita HeatDevils on Feb. 24, 2008, and tied by Michael Gardener of the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix on May 16, 2009, a Final Four contest, against the Tokyo Apache.

Feedback: Got a story idea about the bj-league? Send an email to edward.odeven@japantimes.co.jp