Iwate adds five players to roster

Staff Report

The expansion Iwate Big Bulls have locked up the services of five newcomers for their inaugural season, the bj-league team has announced.

Power forward/center Matthew Smith, who attended NAIA school Warner Southern, will add muscle to the team’s frontline. The 206-cm forward averaged 14.9 points for the Southwest Slammers in Australia last season. The 28-year-old has also played for Angrabasket of the Portugal League, the IBL’s Seattle Mountaineers, the Sarawak Rainbows of the Malaysian League, and the Coventry Crusaders of the English League.

Joining Smith in the frontcourt is veteran big man Shawn Malloy, who played college ball at the University of New Orleans. The 209-cm center has suited up for teams in Mexico, Lebanon, Syria, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela since turning pro in 2006. South Korean Shin Jae Rok, a 190-cm veteran, is slated to split time at guard and forward. Thomas Kennedy, out of University of Detroit Mercy, where Dick Vitale once patrolled the sideline, joins Iwate after beginning his pro career in 2010 in Austria, followed by time in Bourg-en-Bresse in France’s Pro B League.

The Big Bulls, led by Greek coach Vlasios Vlaikidis, also brought in guard Keita Takada, who has spent time with the ABA’s Atlanta squad and, most recently, played for the JBL2’s Renova Kagoshima.