89ers add Longar, Dukes to roster


Staff Writer

The Sendai 89ers continue to build their roster for the upcoming season, adding Sudanese-born center Longar Longar and forward Johnny Dukes, the bj-league team announced on Friday.

Longar left Sudan and moved to Egypt in 1995, then to Chicago three years later. He then relocated to Rochester, Minnesota, in 2002 before a college career at Oklahoma. According to draftexpress.com, Logar, now 211 cm, began playing basketball in high school. Fast forward to his senior year with the Sooners in 2007-08 and he was the team’s second-leading scorer (11.4 points per game) and the No. 1 shot-blocker with 33.

As a pro, Longar has played in Turkey and in the NBA Development League over the past three seasons (28 games, eight starts), averaging 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.

“Longar Longar will give us a much-needed inside presence with his defense and shot blocking,” 89ers coach Bob Pierce said. “He has played in the NBDL, and was called up by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and although he didn’t end up playing in the NBA, it shows he’s right at the borderline for NBA size and ability.”

The 203-cm Dukes attended the University of San Francisco from 2004-07 before embarking on a pro career that has included stops in Turkey, Ukraine and the D-League.

“Johnny Dukes is an athletic 3/4 who can defend multiple positions,” Pierce said, referring to the small forward and macho forward positions. “His style of play usually translates well into the bj-league.”

In other league news, the Akita Northern Happinets defeated the Miyazaki Shining Suns 73-69 in preseason action on Saturday.

The game pitted pupil vs. mentor, as former Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix assistant coach Koto Toyama, Miyazaki’s sideline supervisor, matched wits with Akita coach Kazuo Nakamura, the longtime Phoenix bench boss.

The Happinets trailed 35-33 at halftime, but prevailed by outscoring the hosts in the second half in Kumamoto.