Basketball / BJ-League

Ex-Evessa star's spouse released from custody

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Longtime Osaka Evessa star Lynn Washington’s wife, Dana, was released by Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday, sources, including Ryan Blackwell, who coached the team over the past two seasons, said. Her release — in the aftermath of her arrest on drug charges in February — completes a long saga that rocked the bj-league to its very core this season.

Dana Washington, 32, was arrested after a package containing nearly 1 kg of marijuana with a street value of about ¥9 million was sent from the United States to Osaka and detected by customs officials. The package was addressed to her, Osaka police said.

According to a source who requested anonymity, Dana Washington had a prescription for medical marijuana, legal under California state law, to treat arthritis, sleep deprivation and migraine headaches.

After taking over-the-counter prescription drugs for an extended period of time, she suffered from vomiting and other side effects that were “detrimental to her health,” the source said, and opted to use alternative medicine.

Marijuana use or possession in Japan, however, are violations of the Cannabis Control Law.

Dana Washington’s lawyer, Ichiro Morioka, showed her prescription to court officials. She pleaded guilty to drug possession, but did not receive the 3½-year sentence that prosecutors sought. She will not be deported nor required to pay a court-imposed fine, but free to leave Japan at any time.

Police arrested Lynn Washington, a two-time league MVP, on March 13. He was in custody for 18 days before all drug-related charges against him were dropped.

After being released from police custody, Lynn Washington left the Evessa, the team he guided to three titles.

In related team news, The Japan Times has learned the team has requested a meeting with Blackwell, who’s status is in limbo.

This newspaper first reported on Friday that the coach would not receive a new contract offer from the team, but a longtime league insider said Friday the club has requested a face-to-face meeting because the players are now upset about a possible coaching change.

Around the league: Ryukyu Golden Kings guard Yasufmi Takushi announced his retirement on Thursday.

Takushi, a 3-point shooting specialist, had played for the Okinawan team since 2008, helping the Golden Kings capture a pair of championships. From 2003-05 and 2006, the 32-year-old served in coaching roles at Fukuoka University and for Okinawa’s national athletic meet team, respectively.

His biggest impact was a mentor to younger players and as a hard-working, lead-by-example veteran on and off the court. All told, Takushi canned 135 3-pointers during his four Ryukyu seasons.

Takushi’s brother, Naoto, is a two-time Best Five guard, who has suited up for the Golden Kings, Kyoto Hannaryz, Niigata Albirex BB and Oita HeatDevils since 2007. . . .

The Yokohama B-Corsairs lost up to $1 million this season, according to a well-connected league insider.

Team spokesman Takao Ando did not respond to an email request for comment.

The first-year franchise was a smashing success on the court, winning 22 of its final 30 regular-season games and advancing to the Final Four, where it placed third overall.