Japanese basketball marked an unprecedented dark year in 2015 as its national governing body was suspended by FIBA. It was a tough penalty handed down in November 2014.

But now its leaders are attempting to take advantage of the chance to develop the sport into a major game in Japan, moving toward the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and beyond.

This large-scale project will not proceed without Saburo Kawabuchi, one of Japan's most powerful sports administrators, who arrived as the savior during Japan hoops' darkest hour.