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Evessa, Crane Thunders inadvertently help each other address needs

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Osaka Evessa and Gunma Crane Thunders acted quickly to fill frontcourt vacancies, swooping up released big men Darko Cohadarevic and Dillion Sneed, respectively, this week.

The teams were not involved in a trade, with both players being handed their release in recent days.

On Thursday, Gunma announced it had signed the 201-cm Sneed, who had played in Osaka’s first 28 games this season. On the same day, Osaka announced the 205-cm Cohadervic, who made 28 appearances for Gunma, had signed a contract with the team.

Sneed, 29, leads the bj-league in field-goal shooting percentage (61.4 percent, 154-for-251) this season. He averaged 13.3 points per game for the Evessa (11-17). He helped the Ryukyu Golden Kings capture the 2010-11 bj-league title. He played for the Iwate Big Bulls last season.

Despite his scoring and inside presence, Sneed was a liability at the free-throw line (64-for-160, or 40 percent for Osaka).

Contacted by The Japan Times after his release from the Evessa, Sneed offered his thoughts on losing his job with the Western Conference squad.

“I have no hard feelings about Evessa decision,” Sneed told The Japan Times on Wednesday night. “They did what they thought was right to make the team more competitive.”

How did the East Tennesee State product feel about his play for the rebuilding Evessa squad under new coach Shunsuke Todo this season?

“For what I was given and the situation I was in there, I thought my performance was pretty good and I played extremely solid there,” Sneed commented.

“I was once again leading the league in field-goal percentage and playing my usual hard-nosed blue-collar style of basketball, but it wasn’t a fit with the European, no-post-up, drive-and-shoot style they wanted to play.

“I tried adjusting and doing what I could to help, but it wasn’t good enough.”

He added: “The boosters and fans where amazing there and I’ll miss them and the city and wish them luck in the future.”

Cohadarevic, a native of Serbia, averaged 13.9 ppg for Gunma (6-22). While Sneed sets up shop in the low post, Cohadarevic scores from the perimeter (29-for-80 from 3-point range) and elsewhere (136-for-273 on 2s).

Sneed has 208 rebounds to date, four more than the Evessa’s new acquisition.

Cohadarevic, meanwhile, has 56 assists; Sneed has dished out 21.

Gunma plays host to the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix (17-11) on Saturday and Sunday. Osaka travels to face defending champion Yokohama B-Corsairs (13-13) this weekend.

On the move: A league insider has informed this newspaper that forward Dior Lowhorn, who averaged 26.7 ppg for the Saigon Heat (ASEAN League) in the 2012-13 campaign, has been acquired by the Phoenix.

The 201-cm Lowhorn began his college career at Texas Tech, playing under the legendary Bob Knight, before transferring to the University of South Florida. His pro career has included stops in Morocco, the Philippines, Czech Republic and Venezuela.