Basketball / BJ-League

Backcourt dynamo Takeno takes talents to Akita

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Veteran guard Akitomo Takeno, a perimeter marksman with an explosive first step, has left the Rizing Fukuoka and OK’d a contractual agreement to play for the Akita Northern Happinets for the 2014-15 season.

The Happinets, last season’s championship runnerup team, announced the deal on Friday.

The 28-year-old Takeno averaged 7.6 points in 51 games for the Rizing in 2013-14. He dished out 135 assists and collected 48 steals. He shot 91.2 percent (52-for-57) at the free-throw line.

In his second stint with Fukuoka, his hometown team, Takeno played for four seasons. He scored a career-high 13.0 points per game in the 2008-09 campaign for the Niigata Albirex BB.

The 173-cm Takeno began his pro career in the 2007-08 season with the Rizing, averaging 8.1 points in 20 games while playing in bench boss John Neumann’s high-octane run-and-gun system, then moved to Niigata for the following season.

Now, he’s reunited with the man he split playing time with at point guard during his two years in an Albirex uniform, Makoto Hasegawa, Akita’s new head coach.

Hasegawa has said he wants the Happinets to employ an aggressive offensive style, which suits Takeno’s game.

In a team-issued statement, Takeno said he’s excited to be able to play in front of Akita’s passionate, pink-clad fans.

If up-and-coming star Yuki Togashi, who will participate next week in a tryout with the Dallas Mavericks for a spot on the team’s NBA Summer League team, does not return to Akita, Takeno gives the squad another proven contributor in the backcourt.

If Togashi does return to Akita, he could team up with Takeno to solidify a quick-strike offense that was equally efficient in the paint and from the perimeter last season.

A two-time All-Star, Takeno has twice led the bj-league in 3-point shooting accuracy (2008-09 and 2010-11).

89ers update: Former league MVP and frontcourt leader Wendell White will return to Sendai for the upcoming season, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

White, a UNLV alum, was the bj-league’s fourth-leading scorer (20.1 ppg) in his first season in an 89ers uniform.

Sendai also added guard Hirohisa Takada to its roster. Last season, he averaged 3.4 ppg for the Gunma Crane Thunders.

Time to work: New York Knicks post player Jeremy Tyler, who suited up for the now-defunct Tokyo Apache in the 2010-11 season, has been assigned to play for New York’s Summer League team in Las Vegas.

The league starts on July 11 and ends on July 21. New York will play at least five games in that span.

New Knicks coach Derek Fisher, hired by team president Phil Jackson this offseason, will be at the helm in the city of bright lights and big casinos.