Basketball Topics

May 13, 2015

Niigata parts ways with Hiraoka

by Ed Odeven

The Niigata Albirex BB reached the playoffs in each of Fujitaka Hiraoka’s two seasons as head coach. But they failed to advance to the Final Four, which they did in May 2013 under Hiraoka’s predecessor, Matt Garrison. On Wednesday, the Albirex announced that Hiraoka, ...

Akita, Iwate, Hamamatsu, Shiga advance to Final Four

May 10, 2015

Akita, Iwate, Hamamatsu, Shiga advance to Final Four

by Ed Odeven

The Final Four picture is now set, and it’s a decidedly different look this year. The Akita Northern Happinets and Iwate Big Bulls will represent the Eastern Conference, while the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and Shiga Lakestars advanced from the Western Conference. The Big Bulls ...

May 9, 2015

Murry sinks shot at buzzer to lift Phoenix

by Ed Odeven

Nile Murry provided the heroics in crunch time. The veteran guard nailed a buzzer-beating jumper from the top of the key to shatter a late tie, and the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix outlasted the defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings 71-69 in overtime in Game 1 ...

May 8, 2015

Toyama's Joho needs to rest ailing knee in offseason

by Ed Odeven

Toyama Grouses star Masashi Joho won’t have offseason surgery after sustaining a knee injury in the final week of the regular season. “I don’t need surgery,” Joho told The Japan Times on Friday night. “I need to rest.” The 33-year-old Joho sustained a medial ...

May 8, 2015

Takamatsu hires Ito to replace Maeda as bench boss

by Ed Odeven

The Takamatsu Five Arrows made their first coaching change since 2011 on Friday. Nobuyoshi Ito, who has earned recognition as a high school bench boss during the annual Winter Cup in recent years, will replace Kenzo Maeda on the Five Arrows bench, the Western ...

Fukushima makes great progress in first season

| May 5, 2015

Fukushima makes great progress in first season

by Ed Odeven

The Fukushima Firebonds’ season-ending loss on Sunday closed one chapter in the team’s history. But of greater significance was the foundation the first-year franchise built over the past eight months. This is where you start: The Firebonds have a determined, capable young head coach ...

May 4, 2015

Hannaryz cruise past Five Arrows to reach Western semis

by Ed Odeven

The Kyoto Hannaryz took their first step toward securing a fourth consecutive trip to the Final Four. The top-seeded Hannaryz played lockdown defense en route to a 93-63 triumph over the Takamatsu Five Arrows in Game 2 of their bj-league Western Conference first-round series ...

Big Bulls extinguish Firebonds to reach next round

May 4, 2015

Big Bulls extinguish Firebonds to reach next round

by Ed Odeven

An abundance of highlight reel plays raised the excitement level for the already ecstatic home fans. But the second-seeded Iwate Big Bulls excelled in their execution of the fundamentals in a 95-71 triumph over the seventh-seeded Fukushima Firebonds in Game 2 of their bj-league ...

Big Bulls dismantle Firebonds in playoff opener

May 2, 2015

Big Bulls dismantle Firebonds in playoff opener

by Ed Odeven

Aggressive. Alert. Attentive. Those were the defining traits that shined through for the Iwate Big Bulls in their playoff opener. In a teacher’s grade book, the second-seeded Big Bulls would’ve received satisfactory scores — straight As — for their overall effort and execution. It ...