Japanese guard Yuta Tabuse said Tuesday that he hopes to become the first Japanese-born player to make the NBA with the Phoenix Suns.
Tabuse sealed a multiyear contract with the Suns on Monday for the upcoming season.
“He has a great feel for the game and pushes the ball up the floor extremely well. He really has the ability to electrify an audience,” said Bryan Colangelo, Suns president and general manager.
It will be the Yokohama native’s second attempt at making the final 12-man roster of an NBA team. Last year, Tabuse was waived by the Denver Nuggets before the NBA’s official season opened.
“I once again will face a difficult battle,” Tabuse told reporters, but added he felt positive.
“I take every day as a challenge,” he said.
Tabuse said in a news conference in Tokyo that he was pleased at the opportunity to make the team.
“I am very happy that I was able to sign. But as I said, this is just the starting line, and I know that this is the real beginning. I would like to continue to stay focused,” Tabuse said.
The 176-cm Tabuse, formerly with Toyota Alvark of Japan’s Super League, played two seasons at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, but he doesn’t consider his height to be a disadvantage.
“I’ve been playing basketball all my life with guys bigger than myself, and I’m used to that,” Tabuse said.
The 23-year-old Tabuse was scheduled to arrive in Phoenix next week.
Japan’s Yasutaka Okayama was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1981, but didn’t join the team.
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