Herb Brown helps Japan women’s basketball team nab FIBA Asia gold

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Longtime basketball coach Herb Brown, older brother of Hall of Fame bench boss Larry Brown, helped steer the Japan women’s national team to its first continental championship in 43 years on Sunday.

Japan captured the FIBA Asia Championship for Women with a 65-43 triumph over South Korea in Bangkok.

Brown has spent the past six months as adviser coach for a program seeking to return to the Olympics after failing to qualify for both the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and 2012 London Games. The talented youthful squad took a big step in the right direction in Thailand.

In his role as a mentor for Japan sideline supervisor Tomohide Utsumi, Brown, now 77, had decades of NBA, college and international coach wisdom to draw upon.

“We haven’t won this for more than 40 years, so it’s a pleasant surprise for all Japanese basketball fans,” Utsumi told reporters after the game. “We came to this tournament to win the gold.”

Ramu Tokashiki had 20 points and 14 rebounds in the final to earn MVP honors, and Japan went 7-0 in the tournament.

Brown was ecstatic about the result. He called it “a great accomplishment for Japanese women’s basketball,” in an email to The Japan Times on Tuesday evening.

“The entire organization and JBA (Japan Basketball Association) leadership supported and worked tirelessly to win the gold medal,” Brown wrote. “The victory could not have been achieved had everyone not sacrificed and worked together. I am thankful that I had a small part in the success of (team leader) Masa-san (Masahiro Takahashi) and Utsumi-san’s wonderful organization.

“The dedication, effort and professionalism of the players and their entire sports staff was remarkable,” he concluded.