Chris Holm, an integral part of the Sendai 89ers’ success during the final years of the Honoo Hamaguchi era, is returning to the Tohoku-based club.
The veteran center finalized a deal with the 89ers for the 2015-16 season, the team recently announced.
One of the premier rebounders in league history, Holm played a starring role for the Niigata Albirex BB, Kyoto Hannaryz and Shiga Lakestars, helping all three franchises, advance to the Final Four over the past four seasons.
Holm, a University of Vermont alum, played his final game for Sendai on March 6, 2011, in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, against the host Saitama Broncos. Holm grabbed 19 rebounds in the contest, a vintage performance that has been a hallmark of his career.
Five days later, the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated the Tohoku region. The 89ers, who were 24-12 at the time, shut down for the rest of the season. (Hamaguchi left the club and became Kyoto’s coach.)
Holm, meanwhile, went on to complete the season interrupted by tragedy with Niigata, and stayed with the team until the close of the 2012-13 campaign before stints with Kyoto and Shiga.
Now, he’s on the move again. And he’s happy to be back with the team that gave him his first opportunity in Japan in 2008.
“My family and I are super excited to go back to Sendai,” Holm told The Japan Times on Tuesday. “As soon as the possibility came up, I knew that’s where I wanted to go. The fans were always amazing, super supportive, the city is great, the front office and staff and players are all amazing people. . .
“My last tenure (with Sendai) ended so abruptly because of the earthquake that we never got to go back and get that end to it. Now I get to have this full-circle kind of thing where it’s nearing the end of my career, and it’s the last year of the bj-league and I get to finish in the same place I started.”
Holm, who turns 31 in November, replaces shot-blocking specialist Jeral Davis in the middle for the 89ers, who went 37-15 last season. He averaged 7.4 points and nearly 10.0 rebounds in 46 contests for the Lakestars.
New addition: Post player Evan Ravenel, a former Ohio State Buckeye, will suit up for the title-chasing Ryukyu Golden Kings this season.
The Ryukyu front office announced the deal on Tuesday.
Since turning pro in 2013, the 204-cm Ravenel has played in Bulgaria and Poland. Last season, the native of Tampa, Florida, averaged 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds for Polpharma Starogard Gdanski.
While with the Buckeyes, Ravenel’s team reached the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four and Elite Eight during his junior and senior seasons.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Kings and I hear we have the best fans in the league,” Ravenel said in a team-issued statement. “I saw all the success the Kings were having and wanted to be a part of a winning organization. . .”
Roster taking shape: Niigata acquired veteran power forward Ryan Reid and guard Charles Hinkle for new bench boss Kazuo Nakamura’s revamped lineup.
Reid, who was selected in the second round (57th overall pick) of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, appeared in five games for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2011-12 season, averaging 1.6 points and 0.4 rebounds.
A former Florida State captain, the 204-cm Reid has played in the NBA Development League, Puerto Rico and, most recently, France.
Hinkle also brings D-League experience to the Albirex along with stints in Hungary and Turkey.
The 196-cm backcourt leader played at Vanderbilt University for three seasons. He then transferred to American University and earned All-Patriot League First Team honors as a senior for the 2011-12 season.
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