Should statistical records from the bj-league, the JBL and its successor (NBL), the JBL2 and its successor (NBDL) be kept handy and recited frequently for the B. League?
Or should the accomplishments of players and teams in Japan’s men’s basketball circuits be stored away and ignored, with the slate wiped clean for the upstart circuit?
Statistical accomplishments help fans and the media gain knowledge and appreciation for players and teams, so starting from scratch is not a completely realistic option here.
What the vast majority of the players, coaches and teams have done in years past will help to explain their identity as the 2016-17 season unfolds.
For instance, veteran forward Michael Parker, a newcomer this offseason to the Chiba Jets, was one of the most prolific scorers in both the bj-league with the Rizing Fukuoka and Shimane Susanoo Magic and provided a similar offensive spark for the NBL’s Wakayama Trians and Toyota Alvark in past seasons. Parker’s 53-point outburst for Fukuoka against the Takamatsu Five Arrows on Nov. 7, 2010, registered as the second-highest point total in bj-league history. Le’Bryan Nash eclipsed Parker’s mark with a 54-point game for the Fukushima Firebonds on Feb. 28 against the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
Should those performances — and other similar impressive feats — be a part of the general talk about what teams in the B. League’s new first, second and third divisions aim for?
The general view here is that there will be some recollection of past streaks, both good and bad, stats and trends. But inertia will carry the B. League away from broad comparisons to past teams and eras, at least right away in this new era.
One concern, though, would be that league and team officials don’t rely on enough historical data to paint a reliable picture of who’s who and what teams and individuals have accomplished or failed to do in past seasons in Japan.
Teaming up: Tohoku has been a growing stronghold for pro basketball since the Sendai 89ers set up shop in the bj-league in 2005, and were followed by four new teams — Akita Northern Happinets, Iwate Big Bulls, Aomori Wat’s and Fukushima Firebonds — since 2010.
The region’s other pro team, the Yamagata Wyverns, will team up with the aforementioned five clubs on July 20 for a planned basketball clinic in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.
The events in Ishinomaki will be held at the Aoba Junior High School gymnasium as part of the B. League’s efforts to assistant with the Great East Japan Earthquake’s reconstruction. Actor Masatoshi Nakamura and Link Tochigi Brex guard Yuta Tabuse are also scheduled to participate in the festivities and planned instruction for local elementary and junior high school students.
Leader returning to Lakestars: Standout power forward Julian Mavunga is back with the Shiga Lakestars for a second season, the team recently announced.
Mavunga, a Miami (Ohio) University alum, averaged 19.5 points in 51 games (49 starts) last season for the Lakestars.
“I’m excited to be returning to the Shiga Lakestars,” Mavunga, 26, said in a statement released by the team. “I had a lot of fun last year competing at a high level with my teammates and my coach. We will all be excited to be a part of the new B. League and I look forward to competing all season and bringing success to the club.”
Pomare update: The Kanazawa Samuraiz, coming off a playoff appearance in their lone season as a bj-league club, have brought back dependable veteran Gyno Pomare to add continuity to the frontcourt as the team makes the transition to the B3, aka the third division.
Pomare, a University of San Diego product, bounced around the bj-league for more than half a decade with one-season stops with the Sendai 89ers (2009-10), Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix (2011-12), Kyoto Hannaryz (2012-13), Iwate (2013-14), Aomori (2014-15), then went to Kanazawa for the team’s inaugural season.
In a news release, Pomare said his goal is to help the team earn promotion to the second division and then the first division.
In a follow-up interview with The Japan Times, Pomare said: “I have a chance to grow with this team, and hopefully see it move up from B3 to B2. That is a positive.
“Head coach (Yukinori) Suzuki is the No. 1 reason to come back. It was very nice to feel wanted. He along with the (team) president met with me after the season in order to try to re-sign me. Other teams have wanted to sign me back, in the past, but Kanazawa really did all they could in order for that to happen.
“Secondly, almost all of our Japanese players are returning. We have proven ourselves already this season in being able to compete in the bj-league. We should be able to be very successful playing in B3.
“Lastly, the city, the fans, and my wife being able to walk back into her work, all made it an easy choice for us to return.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Pomare noted that “all things pointed to return to Kanazawa and winning in B3 and moving up to B2 is the ultimate goal.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead, and know with our team and coaching, we have a great chance to do big things.”
Las Vegas Summer League: Through Wednesday, Nash, the bj-league’s leading scorer in its final season (2015-16), had appeared in four Summer League contests for the Milwaukee Bucks, getting limited playing time (averaging 3.0 points and 5.8 minutes).
He saw 10 minutes of court time Wednesday in an 81-64 loss to the Dallas Mavericks and had five points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
On Monday, Nash was held scoreless against the Memphis Grizzlies.
New boss in Takamatsu: Joe Navarro, who led the Hiroshima Lightning during their one season in the bj-league, was hired recently as the Takamatsu Five Arrows’ new coach.
Navarro also worked as a Concordia University assistant from 2001 to 2012 in Portland, Oregon.
Navarro replaces Hiromichi Tsuda, who was the Takamatsu coach for one season.
The Lightning will not be a part of the B. League during the upstart circuit’s inaugural season.
Another stop: Well-traveled mentor Koju Munakata takes over as the next coach of the Yamagata Wyverns, the second-division team recently announced.
Munakata, 49, was an assistant and head coach for Toyota in the old JBL and later served as the first sideline supervisor in Aomori Wat’s history (2013-15) before a one-season stint running the show for the Shinshu Brave Warriors concluded in the spring.
Third-division moves: The Rizing Fukuoka have handed the coaching reins to a familiar face, bringing back Atsushi Kanazawa.
Kanazawa directed the team to a championship runner-up finish in the bj-league’s 2012-13 campaign. He then left the team and coached the JBL2’s TGI D-Rise for a season, followed by two seasons with the relocated franchise, then called the Passlab Yamgata Wyverns in the NBDL (the JBL’s successor). Kanazawa also served as Takamatsu coach for the 2010-11 season. . . .
Elsewhere, coming off a 5-47 season in the bj-league, the Saitama Broncos have hired former American Collier St. Clair as their new coach.
St. Clair, 39, has worked as an assistant at both Southern Polytechnic State and Clark Atlanta University before spending the past five years in the United Arab Emirates as both an assistant and head coach.