Basketball / BJ-League | BJ-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

Well-traveled Cousin joins Brave Warriors

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Well-traveled big man Marcus Cousin, who patrolled the middle for the Kyoto Hannaryz during the 2012-13 campaign, has finalized a deal to play for the Shinshu Brave Warriors this season, according to published reports on Wednesday.

The 211-cm Cousin helped the Hannaryz reach the Final Four. He averaged a team-best 14.9 points in 51 games for Kyoto, shooting 58 percent from the field.

The 28-year-old Cousin wrapped up his collegiate career at the University of Houston after first attending Seton Hall. He appeared in four games for the Utah Jazz in the 2010-11 season.

Cousin saw court time with the Blackwater Elite of the Philippine Basketball Association in June, providing a spark for the club during the PBA Governors Cup. In four games, Cousin averaged 22.8 points and 13.0 rebounds.

After leaving Kyoto, Cousin signed with the NBA powerhouse San Antonio Spurs in late September 2013, but he was waived on Oct. 15, then went to play in Russia for two seasons, followed by time in Puerto Rico and the aforementioned stint in the Philippines.

Cousin’s basketball travels are not unlike a foreign diplomat’s itinerary. He has also suited up for teams in Turkey, Israel, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the NBA Development League.

In a 2013 interview with The Japan Times, Cousin was asked to analyze his style of play.

He responded by saying, “As a power player, but I can have some finesse as well, go outside and shoot or drive sometimes, too. I think I can do a lot of things on the court. I am not one-dimensional. I like to work on all parts of my game and I think it’s been playing out this season.”

He added: “I’ve been doing the same thing my whole career. I always try to work on different things.”

Koju Munakata was hired as Shinshu’s new head coach in June. The ex-Aomori Wat’s bench boss takes over a team that also includes newcomers Mike Bell, a Florida Atlantic alum who routinely posted double-doubles for the Oita HeatDevils, Sendai 89ers and Osaka Evessa in past stints in Japan, and fellow frontcourt addition Jaye Crockett, a Texas Tech product. In 2012-13, his final season at Texas Tech, Crockett contributed 13.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals a game.

Crockett’s versatility in college saw him spend time at both forward positions.

After two seasons at the helm, Ryuji Kawai was demoted from head coach to assistant. The Brave Warriors went 19-33 in Kawai’s final season in charge.

Shinshu will look to guards Takato Saito, Yosuke Saito and Yasuhiko Wada, who previously played for the Sendai 89ers, to set the tone in the backcourt. Forward Junki Kano, one of the club’s most consistent performers after the All-Star break in February, returns with increased expectations for the bj-league’s 11th and final season.

Career achievement: John Neumann, a former Rizing Fukuoka (2007-09) and Takamatsu Five Arrows (2009-10) head coach, will be inducted into the Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame next Friday.

As a college sophomore, Neumann earned widespread recognition during the 1970-71 season for his prolific scoring for the University of Mississippi men’s squad. It was his lone season on the squad. An NCAA rule at the time that stated freshmen were ineligible to play.

Neumann averaged 40.1 points per game, including a 63-point outburst against conference rival Louisiana State, leading the NCAA in scoring, then left college early to play in the ABA, joining his hometown Memphis Tams. He earned AP and UPI’s SEC Player of the Year honors as a super sophomore.

He later played in the NBA and coached in pro leagues spanning the globe.

New addition: The defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix on Wednesday announced the signing of forward Terrance Woodbury.

The 201-cm Woodbury, a University of Georgia alum, played for the Shiga Lakestars last season and for the Ryukyu Golden Kings during the 2012-13 campaign.

“I’m very excited to say that I will be joining the reigning champs this season,” Woodbury said in a statement issued by the team. “I look forward to competing and hopefully bringing another championship to this great organization, city and fans.”

Woodbury, who spent the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons with the D-League’s Austin Toros, led the Lakestars in scoring (18.3 points).

Feedback: edward.odeven@japantimes.co.jp