Happinets stars lead bj-league All-Star voting


Staff Writer

A pair of Akita Northern Happinets players received the most fan votes as the players and coaches were announced for the Jan. 24 bj-league All-Star Game on Friday.

Shooter Shigehiro Taguchi led the ballot with 35,226 votes to earn his fourth consecutive all-star appearance. His teammate, forward Richard Roby, followed with 34,143. Both will start for Team East in the annual contest.

Besides Taguchi and Roby, Takehiko Shimura and Wendell White of the Sendai 89ers and Fukushima Firebonds inside player Le’Bryan Nash were the top vote-getters and will be on the starting lineup for the East team.

Japan national team center Atsuya Ota received 28,138 votes to lead in the West. Kyoto Hannaryz guard Hikaru Kusaka, Ryukyu Golden Kings shooter Ryuichi Kishimoto, Kanazawa Samuraiz’ Gyno Pomare and Reggie Warren of the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix will be on the starting five.

Seven other players were added to each squad by the league as substitutes. Toyama Grouses 3-point-maker Masashi Joho and Rizing Fukuoka veteran guard Taishiro Shimizu will make their eighth All-Star appearances.

Sendai’s Shuto Kawachi and Kyoto’s Honoo Hamaguchi will be the head coaches for Team East and Team West, respectively.

The All-Star Game, which will be played at Sendai’s Xebio Arena, will also feature a 3-point contest and dunk contest.

It will be the final bj-league All-Star Game, as the league will merge with the NBL and start the B. League this fall.