/ |

Aomori warns foreign players about fraudulent agents

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Despite having a collection of 80-plus import players for all recent seasons and the fact that 30 foreign-born head coaches, including one (Howie Landa) who never coached in the preseason or regular season, have been hired since the league’s first game was played in 2005, there’s no information on the bj-league website in English.

Which begs the question: Why?

Why doesn’t the league office take a pro-active stance in providing relevant information on its own website in both Japanese and English?

Doing so could only upgrade the league’s shaky image and provide useful information at the same time, including about import quota rules and game regulations, league history and team contact information. These are all things that can’t necessarily be run through an online translator service.

So it’s a somewhat surprising development that the Aomori Wat’s, entering their second season, have posted a bilingual message — in English and Japanese — warning players about potential fraudulent dealings with agents.

The actual website posting is labeled this way: “(WARNING) Important notification to overseas players.”

Here’s the rest of the post: “Upon the acquisition of foreign players and organizing our team, Aomori Wat’s does contract negotiations based on the rules of FIBA.

“The agents have to be registered by FIBA, so both players and the team must check if those agents are affiliated or not.

“We now listed some fake agents below. They ask for agent fee or airfare and try to cheat your money out and these frauds are never ceasing. These contacts do not belong to Aomori Wat’s and we do not have any relationship with the imposter agents, so please be reminded that we cannot compensate any loss or damage. Therefore we remind the players to be aware of fraud and make sure you do not sign any contract with any agents that you do not know.”

The agents cited are named Grey Peterson and Anthony Newhouse, according to the posting.

Relevant English information about radiation in Fukushima Prefecture should also be posted on both the Fukushima Firebonds and league website in both languages. It’s important to educate the public about critical issues of the day and not simply ignore them.

In related news, the Wat’s, who reached the postseason in their inaugural season under bench boss Koju Munakata, have signed rookie forward Kyle Richardson, a Portland State product.

The 201-cm Richardson appeared in 32 games for the Vikings in the 2013-14 campaign. He averaged 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds a game while converting 59.3 percent of his shots from the field for the Big Sky Conference school. Richardson played three seasons at Long Beach State before transferring to PSU.

Vikings head coach Tyler Geving commented on Richardson’s leadership skills before his senior season, saying, “Kyle has a maturity that we need. He has been in a successful program at Long Beach State and brings a lot of winning qualities that might not show up in a box score.”

“He is a cerebral kid that understands scouting reports, what we are trying to do offensively and defensively, how to be in position,” Geving said in comments posted on the Portland State athletics website.

“You can depend on him doing the right thing and giving a great effort.”

National representative: Forward Djibril Thiam, who helped the Toyama Grouses reach the Final Four for the first time in franchise history in May, is on Senegal’s 16-man provisional roster for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The tournament, formerly known as the FIBA World Basketball Championship, will be held in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14.

Senegal must trim its roster to 12 players for the quadrennial global competition. Its first-round Group B foes are Greece, Philippines, France, Croatia and Argentina.

Thiam is a University of Wyoming alum.

Former Saitama Broncos and Sendai 89ers standout Mamadou Diouf played for Senegal during the 2006 FIBA World Championship held in Japan.

Another addition: Veteran guard Lewis Clinch received a one-year deal to play for the expansion Fukushima Firebonds.

The team announced the news last Friday.

The 27-year-old Clinch became the third foreign player signed by the new club after post players Nick Thompson and James Hughes. He competed for Grindavik of the Icelandic League last season, averaging a team-best 20.7 points with 6.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 29 games.

The 191-cm Clinch played college ball at Georgia Tech from 2005-09, then spent the next two seasons with the NBA Development League’s Austin Toros, followed by stints in Israel and the Dominican Republic

“I’m really looking forward to playing in Japan this season,” Clinch said in a statement posted on the Firebonds website. “Looking forward to my experiences on and off the court. I’ve been waiting (for) an opportunity to play in Japan. I’m very grateful that the time is here!”

Former Georgia Tech standout Anthony McHenry has been a team leader for the reigning champion Ryukyu Golden Kings since 2008. D’Andre Bel has starred for the Osaka Evessa and Chiba Jets.

Woodbury returns: Swingman Terrance Woodbury, the bj-league’s 2012-13 Sixth Man Award recipient, is returning to the league to play for the Shiga Lakestars after competing for Austin in the D-League last season.

The University of Georgia alum averaged 10.5 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Austin Toros in 2013-14, playing 18.9 minutes a game and sinking 36.5 percent of his shots from 3-point range.

While with the Ryukyu Golden Kings during the 2012-13 season, Woodbury poured in 17.9 points in just 23.2 minutes a game. He grabbed 4.7 rebounds per game and connected on 36.2 percent of his shots from long range.

“I want to thank the Shiga Lakestars for the opportunity to play in such a great place with great fans,” Woodbury said in a statement released by Shiga on Thursday. “I’m excited about coming and teaming up with some great people to compete for a championship.”

The 27-year-old Woodbury also played for Austin in the 2011-12 campaign, when he scored 10.8 ppg.

On the news release to announce Woodbury’s signing, Lakestars coach Koto Toyama cited the veteran’s impressive scoring range and ability to attack the basket from anywhere as his top skills.

In short, Woodbury is a professional scorer who maximizes his minutes on the court.

Back to Shiga: Forward Ray Nixon is returning to the Lakestars after his second stint in a Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix uniform.

The Lakestars announced the deal on Wednesday.

A University of Wisconsin alum, Nixon averaged 10.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 49 games for the Phoenix last season. For Shiga, he scored 12.8 ppg in 2012-13 and 14.8 in 2011-12.

Hannaryz update: Kyoto has added 213-cm center Garrett Stutz to its roster for the coming season.

As a senior at Wichita State, he averaged 13.2 points, nearly 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 block in 32 games. The Shockers ended the regular ranked No. 18 in The Associated Press poll, the first time they were nationally ranked at that time since 1983.

In 2012-13, Stutz played for the D-League’s Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics affiliate), appearing in 17 games and averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.9 minutes.

Last season, he played in 35 games for Polish League squad Energa Czarni Slupsk. He averaged 21 minutes, 12.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, according to asia-basket.com

More moves: Playmaker Kevin Galloway, the Osaka Evessa’s versatile stat stuffer last season, is headed to Greece for the upcoming season, asia-basket.com reported.

The Texas Southern product, a triple-double threat whenever he steps on the court, finished with averages of 12.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.0 steals while with the Evessa. He played the 2012-13 campaign for Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. . . .

The Evessa, meanwhile, have reportedly finalized a deal with high-scoring forward Josh Dollard, according to an scnow.com report.

The 203-cm Dollard had three 40-plus scoring efforts in his first three games with Barako Bulls in the Philippines this past season, the article noted.

His pro career has included stops in Finland, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Greece and Colombia.

Did you know?: League legend Jeff Newton, who has played in eight Final Fours and won a league record six championships — three with Osaka and three with Ryukyu — remains a free agent. As of press time on Thursday, Newton, an Indiana University product, was still looking for a team for the 2014-15, his agent, Wallace Prather of Perennial Sports & Entertainment, informed The Japan Times in an email.

Similarly, center Julius Ashby, who has competed in the bj-league title game for three franchises (Takamatsu Five Arrows, Tokyo Apache and Rizing Fukuoka) is also seeking a team for the 2014-15 season. He spent the past two seasons with the Rizing.

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