Basketball / BJ-League

Takamatsu hires Ito to replace Maeda as bench boss

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Takamatsu Five Arrows made their first coaching change since 2011 on Friday.

Nobuyoshi Ito, who has earned recognition as a high school bench boss during the annual Winter Cup in recent years, will replace Kenzo Maeda on the Five Arrows bench, the Western Conference club announced.

The Five Arrows are the first bj-league team to announce a new coach for the 2015-16 season.

The 41-year-old Ito, a native of Tochigi Prefecture, has not coached in the professional ranks.

Ito, a Takushoku University graduate, said he welcomes the opportunity with the Five Arrows. He called it “a challenge to (serve) such a major role.”

This month, the Five Arrows advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2009. They earned the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed with a 17-35 regular-season record, then fell to the top-seeded Kyoto Hannaryz in a two-game, first-round series that ended on Monday.

In four seasons at the helm, Maeda compiled a 62-148 overall record, including the aforementioned playoff series.

Takamatsu went 2-50 in Maeda’s first season in charge, 2011-12, improved to 20-32 in 2012-13 and then went 23-29 last season.

Maeda who turns 33 in June, was a Takamatsu assistant from 2008-11 before becoming head coach.

The Osaka Prefecture native said he gained a lot of experience over the past seven seasons with the team, adding that “I am grateful to the president and the team staff.”