Peppers back with Rizing Fukuoka


Staff Writer

High-scoring forward Josh Peppers has returned to the Rizing Fukuoka, the bj-league team he played for during the Kyushu franchise’s inaugural season. The announcement was made on Thursday.

Peppers, a University of Central Florida product, suited up for the Rizing in 2007-08, before bouncing around the league. He has since played for the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix (2008-09 season), Sendai 89ers (2009-10) and Shiga Lakestars (2010-12).

A proven scorer with a strong attack-the-basket mentality, Peppers is capable of putting 20 or more points on the board every game. He averaged a career-best 22.2 points per game for John Neumman’s run-and-gun Fukuoka squad in 2007-08. Last season, he averaged 14.8 ppg in 44 games (all starts) for the Lakestars. He had a season-best 33-point performance on Dec. 11 against the Phoenix.

“I am very happy about returning to Fukuoka,” Peppers said in a statement issued by the team. “It feels so good to be back. I am really excited about this season and hope that all Rizing boosters support us more than ever this season. I will give my best effort in helping our team do its best and make this a season to remember. I can’t wait to get started and reunited with some of old teammates as well as one of my old coaches…”

The expansion Gunma Crane Thunders, meanwhile, have bolstered their lineup this week, adding bj-league veterans Nyika Williams, a 206-cm power forward/center who played for the Takamatsu Five Arrows last season, and 207-cm post player Lewis Witcher, who suited up for the Miyazaki Shining Suns in 2011-12.

Witcher turns 25 in November; Williams celebrated his 25th birthday on July 9.

Also Friday, the Yokohama B-Corsairs fell 85-76 to China’s Guangdong Tigers in the ABA Championship third-place game in Taiwan. Coach Reggie Geary’s squad went 0-4 in the tournament.