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Togashi invited to Mavericks tryout camp

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Dallas Mavericks have invited point guard Yuki Togashi to participate in a three-day tryout camp starting on Monday.

Noriaki Oshitari, who represents Togashi for Cloud9 Co., Ltd., confirmed the details in an email to The Japan Times on Wednesday evening.

In short, the mini-camp is a team tryout for some players who’ll be picked to participate in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League, which tips off on July 11 and runs until July 21.

Togashi, who turns 21 on July 30, starred for the bj-league’s Akita Northern Happinets the past two seasons. He was named to the league’s Best Five Team last season, averaging a league-high 7.9 assists and 15.6 points per game. He helped Akita post a 40-12 regular-season record, reach the Final Four and finish as the title runnerup to the Ryukyu Golden Kings, a game in which Togashi poured in 30 points. And he was the All-Star Game MVP on Jan. 26 in Akita, with 23 points and five assists.

The 167-cm Togashi, a native of Niigata Prefecture, is aiming to become the second Japanese to play in the NBA.

Point guard Yuta Tabuse had a four-game stint with the Phoenix Suns in the fall of 2004. He then also played in the NBA Development League before returning to Japan and continuing his career with the Link Tochigi Brex in 2008.

Tabuse played college ball at BYU-Hawaii, an NCAA Division II school. Togashi, on the other hand, opted to turn pro instead of continuing his career at the collegiate level, in Japan or overseas.

Togashi, whose father is a basketball coach, attended Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland, for his final high school campaign, and played on the school’s varsity basketball team.

Stu Vetter, Montrose’s legendary coach, also mentored NBA superstar Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, among others.

While playing for Montrose, a perennial powerhouse program, Togashi impressed his coach.

He’s very fundamentally sound and knows how to play,” Vetter told The Japan Times in a 2013 interview. “Great basketball IQ and he can do a little bit of everything. Good ball handler, shoots the ball well, plays hard defensively. He did a good job for us at Montrose and was certainly a factor in our success.”

Summer work: Post player Xavier Gibson, who averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds for Shinshu last season, will play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League squad in Las Vegas, according to published reports. … The Memphis Grizzlies, meanwhile, will reportedly add swingman Edwin Ubiles to their NBA Orlando Summer League squad. Ubiles led the Kyoto Hannaryz with a 15.8 ppg scoring average last season. The Orlando Summer League is set for July 5-11.