Three veteran players with strong overall performances in Japan in past seasons and a proven ability to lead teams to success have been recently acquired by bj-league teams.
Forward Mike Bell, a former standout for the Oita HeatDevils (2009-10), Sendai 89ers (2010-11) and Osaka Evessa (2012-13), has joined the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
The 206-cm Bell is a Florida Atlantic University product. He has also played professionally in Turkey, Spain, France and New Zealand, and since leaving the Evessa, he has suited up for clubs in Bahrain and Kosovo.
The 31-year-old Bell averaged 14.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in 44 games for Osaka.
Also on the move are Scottie Randall, a Best Five Team selection last season, and center Julius Ashby.
Randall, who helped guide the Iwate Big Bulls to the Final Four for the first time in franchise history in May, has finalized a deal to play for the Shimane Susanoo Magic.
The electrifying Temple University alum was fourth in the league in scoring (19.7 points per game) in 2014-15.
Randall, a forward, began his pro career with the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the fall of 2013 before being traded to Iwate that December.
“I just want to thank the Shimane organization for believing in me and I’m going to do whatever I can to take this team to the top,” Randall said in a statement issued by the team earlier this week.
“Again thanks and I can’t wait to get started.”
The 198-cm Randall is one of the most difficult players in the league to defend because of his strength and explosive ability to attack the basket.
Ashby, a University of Colorado product, has suited up for the Takamatsu Five Arrows (2006-07), Tokyo Apache (2008-10), Niigata Albirex BB (2010-11), Shiga Lakestars (2011-12) and Rizing Fukuoka (2012-14). He returns to the bj-league after a one-year absence. He’s now with the Bambitious Nara, who are entering their third season.
Ashby’s five former bj-league teams reached the playoffs with him manning the middle. He turns 33 in September.
Ashby had a two-game stint with Soles de Mexicali, a Mexican League squad, last season.
More Shimane talk: The Susanoo Magic also landed big man Josh Davis, who was signed by the San Antonio Spurs before the 2014-15 season but didn’t make the team’s regular-season roster.
The 203-cm Davis, a San Diego State product, played for the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, getting seven minutes of court time per contest.
A year ago, he played for the Charlotte Hornets in Las Vegas, with three starts in seven games, averaging 8.8 points and 10.1 rebounds.
“I wanted to take the time to thank the organization for this great opportunity to play for Shimane Susanoo Magic,” the 24-year-old Davis said, according to a news release. “I am extremely excited and appreciative of this opportunity that is before me.
“I am looking forward to new experiences and my soon-to-be teammates. I am fully dedicated to doing what is best for the team and myself in order to win and help improve those around me.
“Fans of Shimane, get ready for some excitement. I promise to give my all.”
Playing for the NBA Development League’s Austin Spurs, Davis appeared in 22 games this past season and averaged 13.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks, according to asia-basket.com.
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