Basketball / BJ-League

Hiroshima Lightning approved as 2015-16 expansion team

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Hiroshima Lightning will replace the Astrais Nagasaki as a new team entering the bj-league for the 2015-16 campaign, it was announced on Wednesday.

Last week, Nagasaki Sports Town Management Co. Ltd.’s application to withdraw its entry for the upcoming season was approved by the bj-league’s board of directors. Without a team to take Nagasaki’s place, there would have been 23 clubs slated to play during the league’s 11th season, including the expansion Kanazawa Samurai Orchestra. (Kanazawa Samuraiz is the team’s secondary nickname.)

So, once again, the plan remains for 24 bj-league teams to compete next season.

The Hiroshima Lightning, run by Hiroshima Basketball Co., Ltd., began playing in the bj-Challenge League in January. The Challenge League is a minor circuit geared toward giving younger players and prospects a chance to gain experience and to test their skills.

The Challenge League also includes the Hyogo Impulse, who are led by 80-year-head coach Gary Colson, a longtime college basketball bench boss, with stops at Valdosta State, Pepperdine, New Mexico and Fresno State during 34 seasons in the NCAA Division I ranks. Colson was an assistant to former Memphis Grizzlies president of basketball operations Jerry West from 2002-07.

Tadaharu Ogawa, a former Rizing Fukuoka and Oita HeatDevils head coach, is an adviser for the Impulse.

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