• Staff Report


Former NBA and ABA forward Bob Nash, who guided the Saitama Broncos in 2010-11, was hired to fill the Toyama Grouses’ coaching vacancy, the bj-league team announced on Friday.

He replaced Kazuaki Shimoji, who stepped down after one-plus seasons in charge due to health issues.

Nash turns 62 on Aug. 24. A former NBA player, Nash was a longtime assistant coach and also the bench boss from 1985-2010 at the University of Hawaii, his alma mater.

“It is my goal to build on the positive steps the team made last season of making the playoffs and being three games short of a winning season (25-27),” Nash said in a news release issued by the team.

“We have a lot of work ahead, but I like the commitment the Toyama organization is making to build a championship-caliber team. . . “

Also Friday, the Osaka Evessa acquired veteran forward Taizo Kawabe from the Kyoto Hannaryz for an undisclosed amount of money.

Kawabe, 30, averaged 7.9 points per game in each of the past two seasons for Kyoto, and scored 10.0 ppg in the Hannaryz’s inaugural season in 2009-10.

One of the league’s better pure shooters, Kawabe scored a season-high 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting on April 28 against the Rizing Fukuoka.

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