Basketball / BJ-League

B-Corsairs prepare to make maiden voyage in bj-league

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

The Yokohama B-Corsairs had arguably the most successful draft in the bj-league last month, selecting a pair of standouts in guard Kenji Yamada and Senegalese center Pape Mour Faye.

Now, they’ve added a couple more established veterans that may supply some experience and composure to the expansion club.

The Kanagawa franchise revealed it had acquired free agents Takeshi Hotta and Masayuki Kabaya, both of whom have played in the bj-league and the JBL, introducing all four signees at a Sunday news conference in a Yokohama hotel.

Hotta, a 196-cm small forward, previously played for four clubs, including the JBL’s Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins and Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. Hotta was with the Phoenix when the franchise moved to the bj-league for the 2008-09 season.

Kabaya, a high-scoring guard, was previously with the Toyama Grouses and played with Hotta last season as a member of the Diamond Dolphins.

“Now we’ve got these four players, and as an expansion club we’re very much satisfied with our selections so far,” Yokohama general manager Naoki Ogawa said. “We feel happy to have signed Hotta and Kabaya, who we think can contribute to the team right away.”

Hotta said that he feels blessed to be able to play on home soil.

“I’m feeling joy that I’ll be playing in my hometown,” said the Yokohama native. “I’ve made journeys to many places, but now I hope to build a strong Yokohama B-Corsairs team.”

Three of the four are from Kanagwa Prefecture. But even Faye isn’t a stranger in the region.

After playing for high school powerhouse Nobeoka Gakuen High School in Miyazaki Prefecture, the 22-year-old Faye played the last four seasons for Kanto Gakuin University, a Kanagawa school.

“I thought it would be easier for me to stay in Yokohama than to go somewhere else,” Faye, a second-round draft pick, joked in Japanese. “(But) in the bj-league, I don’t want to allow anyone in rebounding ahead of me and hopefully I’ll win a scoring title.”

Ogawa said that the club has narrowed its search for a head coach down to a foreign candidate and is in the final stage of reaching a deal.

The B-Corsairs are also looking to complete their roster through a tryout later this month.

“We’re looking at making a defense-first team,” Ogawa said, when asked what type of team he seeks to build. “The game tends to be high-scoring in the bj-league in general. But we’re going to have a team that plays aggressive defense and up-tempo offense.

“The coach we’re negotiating with is a defensive-minded person.”

Yokohama also revealed its regular-season schedule. It opens its inaugural season at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium on October 8 against Hamamatsu.

B-Corsairs president Kazuo Hirota said that the club hopes to introduce an entertaining atmosphere to the citizens of the prefecture.

“Once you step in the arena, the entertainment begins,” he said. “We’re very much thrilled.”