Basketball / BJ-League | BJ-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

Shiga brings in veteran Parmer to boost bid for title

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Versatile forward Jeff Parmer has been one of the bj-league’s most consistent winners during his four seasons in the fledgling circuit.

He’s now bringing his winning mentality, proven leadership ability and all-around skills to the Shiga Lakestars, his third club in the bj-league, where he’ll reunite with his former Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix teammate Ray Nixon, also a forward. The duo played major roles in the Phoenix’s remarkable 2010-11 regular season that was capped by a championship.

Shiga announced Parmer’s signing on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Parmer suited up for the Shinhu Brave Warriors last season after three strong campaigns in a Hamamatsu uniform. The Phoenix were 40-6 in the 2010-11 regular season, 37-15 a year later with a championship runnerup finish, and 28-24 in 2012-13.

In Parmer’s lone season with the Nagano Prefecture squad, the Brave Warriors went 33-19, a 16-win improvement over the previous season, and reached the playoffs for the first time as a third-year franchise.

“I want to start off by saying it’s such a blessing to be wanted by a great organization such as Shiga,” Parmer, a Florida Atlantic University product, said in a statement. “The great fan base they’ve come to be known for is something I really look forward to.”

Parmer, a southpaw shooter, is confident the team has taken big steps to be one of the league’s elite clubs in the 2014-15 campaign, the league’s 10th season.

“With the team that we’re assembling for this upcoming season, we have a great chance at competing for a championship,” said Parmer, who averaged 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season for Shinshu. “That alone will push us to be the best team we can be.”

Rebounding maestro Chris Holm, who has been a standout for the Sendai 89ers, Niigata Albirex BB and, most recently, for the Kyoto Hannaryz and was the third-leading rebounder (11.8 per game in 2013-14) in the league last season, has also finalized a deal with the club.

High-scoring swingman and NBA D-League veteran Terrance Woodbury, the 2012-13 bj-league Sixth Man Award winner while playing for the Ryukyu Golden Kings, has also joined the club. Meanwhile, guard Yu Okada left Kyoto and returned to his hometown team for a second stint.

Parmer said that new bench boss Koto Toyama, who replaced Chris Boettcher and became Shiga’s third coach in as many seasons, is an ideal leader for the Lakestars.

“With a coach like Koto and his mentality toward the game of basketball, I know he will put us in a great position to succeed to our fullest potential,” Parmer said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we will get better every day in practice and carry that over into each and every game. . . .”

Rizing update: Fukuoka coach James Duncan, entering his first full season at the helm, is looking at the big picture, cognizant of the fact that it takes time to reshape the team.

Earlier this week, Duncan commented in general terms about the team’s rebuilding efforts. Gone are guards Jun Nakanishi (Iwate), Akitomo Takeno (Akita) and Masahiro Kano (Shiga), forward Reggie Warren (Kyoto) and center Julius Ashby. Eight-time All-Star guard Cohey Aoki remains unsigned. The Rizing, Aoki’s hometown team, have offered him a contract for the coming season.

Roster additions include veteran forward Josh Peppers, who played for the club’s 2012-13 championship runnerup squad, and a trio of bj-league newcomers: 210-cm power forward/center Kirk Van Slyke (Houston and Arkansas State), 203-cm forward Greg Logins (Canisius) and 203-cm forward Cooper Land (Wright State).

Van Slyke played his final collegiate season at Arkansas State in 2013-14. He averaged 14.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 32 games (all starts), and the Sun Belt Conference school went 19-13 overall.

Since turning pro four years ago, Logins’ scoring average has ranged between 10.5 ppg (14 games in 2011-12 season for Zacetecas Barreteros in the Mexican League) to 25.3 ppg for Moroccan League squad RST Tanger that same season.

Land has played pro ball in Norway, Germany and Australia. His father, Bill, is the San Antonio Spurs’ TV play-by-play announcer. In 26 games for the second-tier Australian State League, he averaged 29.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season.

“I was able to find some pieces that fit into the system I envision,” Duncan told The Japan Times on Tuesday. “I think the pieces we added will help us be competitive. If we can come together, stay healthy and build in the right way, I am cautiously optimistic on the season. Of course, it’s a process and it will take time but we brought in guys that are hungry to defend/rebound, hungry to prove themselves and hungry to work together for team success.

“We must all respect each other, this is the standard I demand,” he added.

What expectations does Duncan have for Peppers, Land, Logins and Van Slyke?

“Our foreign players will bring an important aspect to the team that we need for us to be successful but most important for me is their mind-set and their understanding for the game,” Duncan wrote in an email. “Throughout the process, I’ve spoke to Josh, Cooper, Greg and Kirk. They understand part of their job is to make the players around them better and at the same time show off their skill set.

“However, our Japanese players will be just as important, ready to contribute and be active. Those players know what type of style I expect for the season and are working hard in developing their personal games.”

Ducan wants all of the players to embrace the task of building team chemistry.

“What I believe is the biggest challenge is everyone finding their place and comfort level on the team,” Duncan told this newspaper. “I’ll show them direction but we need everyone to jump in the boat together. And if we can be consistent and persistent with certain aspects of the game, we’ll win games.”

So who does Duncan view as the revamped team’s leaders?

“We have some veteran players on the team that have played a lot of basketball games, I do not think it’s fair to point out a few certain names,” he offered. “They are all capable leaders, I believe. ‘The cream always rises to the top,’ (so) the team leaders will eventually show themselves throughout the preseason process. Making your teammates feel good about themselves and come together is a great character piece. On/off-the-court actions will determine who steps forward in leading the team.”

Phoenix acquisition: Forward Jermaine Green, who competed for the Gunma Crane Thunders last season, is on the move again. For the coming season, he’s joined Hamamastu, the club he played for during the 2009-10 campaign. The North Texas product has also played at Shinshu.

Other moves: The Sendai 89ers have acquired journeyman forward Reggie Okosa, who has previously played for four Japan teams: Ryukyu and Iwate of the bj-league and the NBL’s Link Tochigi Brex and Chiba Jets. . . .

The rebuilding Brave Warriors have added guard Yoshitomo Shiina, formerly of Hamamatsu, Miyazaki and Saitama, and ex-Gunma guard Tatsuhiko Toshino. Forwards Patrick Sanders and Shoji Nakanishi return for coach Ryuji Kawai’s team and new foreign players Carl Hall, who was with the NBL’s Hyogo Storks last season, and former D-II Queens University of Charlotte (North Carolina) forward Daniel Bailey are scheduled to arrived soon.

B-Corsairs update: Star guard/forward Omar Reed will not return to Yokohama for a second season. Instead, he’ll play for the NBL expansion squad Hiroshima Dragonflies. The 200-cm Reed averaged 11.0 rebounds a game, sixth-highest total in the bj-league, last season. He’s also an NBA Development League veteran (Ex-B-Corsairs big man Pape Mour Faye, a solid contributor on the team’s 2012-13 title team, has also joined Hiroshima.)

Meanwhile, the Yokohama roster is taking shape for the upcoming season, but as of press time on Thursday, the team had not yet signed any foreign players.

The B-Corsairs have already locked up seven players, including ex-Shinshu shooting guard Yosuke Saito. The six returning players are guards Kenj Yamada, Masayuki Kabaya, Seiji Kono and Satoshi Hisayama and forwards Yosuke Maeda and Ryuichi Horikawa.

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