Basketball / BJ-League | BJ-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

Togashi a free agent after being cut by Italian team

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

After parting ways with Italian Serie A club Dinamo Sassari, guard Yuki Togashi is once again a player without a team.

Dinamo has released Togashi before the team’s season tips off in October.

On Tuesday, Togashi confirmed on Twitter that he’s not in Dinamo’s plans for 2015-16 campaign.

He originally agreed to a training camp contract — essentially a tryout — with the team. The 22-year-old guard had finalized the deal in mid-August, but a spot for him never materialized during the preseason.

Is Togashi poised to play in Japan this season — in either the bj-league or the NBL?

Most teams’ rosters are set or close to being finalized for next months’ lid lifters, but team rosters can still be tweaked, of course.

A Niigata Prefecture native, Togashi is on the Niigata Albirex BB’s wish list, sources told The Japan Times in May. Though one source predicted he wouldn’t join the club until next season, when the B. League begins. That said, Togashi’s move to the Albirex would reunite him with his former Akita Northern Happinets mentor Kazuo Nakamura, the fiery 74-year-old coach who was hired in the offseason to lead Niigata. Togashi starred for Akita during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons under-then coach Nakamura, who has close ties with Togashi’s father, Hideki, a prep hoop mentor with a track record of success.

For Akita, Togashi made an immediate impact upon his arrival after the All-Star break in February 2013. He was the All-Star Game MVP the next season in Akita, and helped the Northern Happinets advance to the title game in May 2014.

He led the bj-league in assists per game (7.9) during his second season in the league, then suited up for the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas in 2014.

After a solid effort in Vegas, Togashi saw time with the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends (Dallas’ affiliate), appearing in 25 games and averaging 2.0 points, 1.0 assists in 8.3 minutes, including an 11-point effort in 20-plus minutes against the Erie BayHawks.

Longtime NBA coach Del Harris, a Texas Legends front-office executive, did not respond to an email seeking comment about the team’s current interest in Togashi, who has spent time with the Japan national team, but wasn’t named to the team’s roster for the ongoing FIBA Asia Championship in China.

In the bj-league’s final season, Akita retains Togashi’s negotiating rights.

Father and son: The Toyama Grouses have hired Bobby Nash as an assistant coach. He’ll work under his father, Bob, who is entering his fourth season at the helm.

The younger Nash, now 31, played for his father at the University of Hawaii and for the Saitama Broncos (2010-11). He also suited up for the Shiga Lakestars (2008-10).

Bob Nash, a former ABA and NBA forward, has guided the Grouses to three straight postseason appearances, including the Final Four in May 2014. He was a longtime coach at Hawaii, where he starred in the early 1970s as a player.

“It gives me great pride and privilege to be a part of the Toyama Grouses coaching staff,” Bobby Nash, who played in Germany and Finland after leaving the Broncos, said in a statement.

“Each and every year the team has grown and gotten better and the level of talent has excelled.

“I have been watching from afar over the last three seasons and I have seen the potential that the team has and how I hope to help in the development of our players to reach their personal best.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity to work with the players and staff, but most importantly to be a part of building a winning culture in Toyama.”

Roster additions: After adding star guard Nile Murry, playoff MVP for the champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix in May, to their revamped roster, the Aomori Wat’s have signed forward Jesse Perry, whose post-college career has included stops in Italy, Lithuania and Finland.

Playing for Italian second-division squad club Aget Service Imola last season, Perry, a University of Arizona alum and a McDonald’s All-America nominee while at Gateway Tech High (St. Louis), averaged 16.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 16 games, according to court-side.com. . . .

The expansion Kanazawa Samuraiz have finalized deals with forward Andrew Fitzgerald, a University of Oklahoma product who started 75 of 121 games while with the Sooners (2009-13), and well-traveled big man Gyno Pomare, whose resume includes stints with five bj-league teams (Sendai, Hamamatsu, Kyoto, Iwate and Aomori).

New hire: Shimane has named Julius Cumlat Jr. as new sideline supervisor Michael Katsuhisa’s assistant. The team made the announcement on Tuesday.

Cumlat is a graduate of Holy Names University in Oakland, California, where he played guard for the Division II squad and received a degree in business management and business communication.

In recent years, Cumlat, 31, worked as a fitness director and personal trainer at The Alaska Club in Anchorage.

Feedback: Send an email to: edward.odeven@japantimes.co.jp