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Evessa sign forwards Hamilton, Tarver

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Veteran forward Gary Hamilton, an accomplished rebounder and frontcourt leader for the Shiga Lakestars and Rizing Fukuoka in past bj-league seasons, is returning to Japan.

The University of Miami (Florida) product has finalized a deal to play for the Osaka Evessa this season, the Western Conference team announced on Friday.

In the 2011-12 season, Hamilton suited up for the Rizing and was the league’s No. 2 rebounder (11.4 per game) and finished 10th overall in assists (3.8). And that’s a rare combination for a power forward.

During the 2010-11 campaign, Hamilton’s second with Shiga, he grabbed a league-best 15.2 rebounds and placed fourth in the fledgling circuit in assists (4.7). He also averaged 12.7 points that season.

He also led the league in rebounds in 2009-10 with 14.3 per game and scored 14.1 points for the Lakestars.

The 208-cm Hamilton turned 30 on Aug. 7. He spent the 2012-13 season in Uruguay with the Defensor Sporting Club. In 38 games, he averaged 10.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He played for SKP Banska Bystrica of the Slovakian League last season, appearing in 10 games and averaging 7.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.

“Although it’s been two years since I have last played in Japan, I plan to come back and earn my rebound king title and help lead Evessa to the playoffs,” Hamilton said in a statement. “I would also like to thank the entire Evessa staff for giving me an opportunity to continue to live out my dreams and play the game of basketball, which I adore so much. I can’t express how excited I am to get the 2014-2015 bj-league season started. I will be ready to play hard for all of the Evessa boosters. …”

The Evessa also signed small forward Seth Tarver, who played for the Rizing last season. He averaged 9.0 points in 55 games, including the playoffs, for Fukuoka.

The 196-cm Tarver attended Oregon State before beginning a pro career that started in 2010 with the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede.

“I am very happy to come to Osaka,” Tarver said in a statement. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play for a great organization and team. I will do my best on the basketball court and off the basketball every day. We have a very talented team, and I am confident we will have a successful season. My goal is to be the best team we can be. …”