For more than a decade in Japan, versatile forward Michael Parker has played an exciting, high-energy brand of all-around basketball.
His arrival a few weeks into the 2007-08 season gave the Rizing Fukuoka a big spark at both ends of the floor, helping lead the expansion club to an improbable run to the bj-league Final Four under fiery bench boss John Neumann.
Parker was at it again on Sunday with a terrific all-around performance for his latest team, the Chiba Jets. He notched a double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) and also contributed five blocks, four assists and two steals.
In other words, the Evergreen (Washington) State alum was everywhere he needed to be during Chiba’s 86-80 triumph over the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins that wrapped up a weekend sweep for coach Atsushi Ono’s club.
Parker has always prided himself on doing just that.
As he revealed in an October 2011 interview with The Japan Times when he suited up for the Shimane Susanoo Magic, versatile NBA players Tayshaun Prince and Scottie Pippen were individuals he tried to emulate defensively. He cited Hall of Famer Allen Iverson as another role model, noting his “hard-nosed play.”
A future Hall of Famer’s name also came up during the exclusive interview. Said Parker at the time: “Obviously, the great players like LeBron James, who can do a little bit of everything, I guess that’s the closest comparison I would like to make, because he does everything even if he’s not scoring.”
It was far from a one-man show for the Jets in the series finale.
Point guard Yuki Togashi poured in 25 points. Tyler Stone added 21 points and 10 boards and Ryumo Ono drained 5 of 8 3-pointers in a 20-point performance.
Chiba (25-13) stepped to the free-throw line for 32 shots and converted 26 of them. Conversely, Nagoya was 16 of 19 at the line.
The Diamond Dolphins led 41-38 at halftime.
Jerome Tillman, who canned 7 of 12 3s, paced Nagoya (21-17) with 36 points and hauled in seven rebounds.
Teammate Taito Nakahigashi finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Takaya Sasayama matched Nakahigashi’s scoring output.
Northern Happinets 74, B-Corsairs 68
In Akita, Scott Morrison scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds and the hosts held Yokohama to 31.2 percent shooting from 2-point range in their second victory in as many days.
Shigehiro Taguchi sank a troika of 3-pointers in a 12-point outing, Deshawn Stephens chipped in with 11 points and Seiya Ando had five points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Northern Happinets (11-27).
Jeff Parmer was the B-Corsairs’ high scorer with 17 points on 6-for-21 shooting. Faye Pape Mour added 10 points and 17 boards, Alexis Minatoya had nine points, Ken Takeda scored eight and Masashi Hosoya supplied seven with four assists for Yokohama (14-24).
Brave Thunders 87, Evessa 76
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, the Central Division-leading Brave Thunders avenged Saturday’s series-opening loss to Osaka, getting a huge game from star center Nick Fazekas to earn the win.
The former NBA big man brandished his MVP credentials with 38 points and 15 rebounds. The focal point of Kawasaki’s offense, Fazekas was 13-for-22 from the field and drained 11 of 13 foul shots. He leads the B. League first division in scoring (28.1 points per game).
Takahiro Kurihara contributed 15 points for the Brave Thunders (32-6), who have a 10-game lead over the San-en NeoPhoenix in the Central Division. Ryusei Shinoyama had 13 points and crafty veteran forward Mamadou Diou provided 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Kawasaki outmuscled Osaka inside, outrebounding the visitors 47-31.
Shinnosuke Negoro scored 19 points, including 4 of 6 from long range, for the Evessa (19-19). Xavier Gibson and Richard Roby had 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Josh Harrellson finished with nine.
Brex 93, NeoPhoenix 88
In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, the hosts’ feisty defense caused fits for San-en, who turned the ball over 19 times and lost for the second time in as many days.
Floor leader Yuta Tabuse sparked Tochigi (29-7) with 14 points, four assists and three steals. The Brex’s high-octane offense got a big boost from Jeff Gibbs (24 points), Takatoshi Furukawa (21) and Ryan Rossiter (20 and eight rebounds).
Josh Childress led the NoePhoenix (22-16) with 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Atsuya Ota had 15 points, including 7-for-8 at the charity stripe, Shuto Tawatari added 14 points and Olu Ashaolu 12. Tatsuya Suzuki dished out six assists.
Alvark 100, Grouses 81
In Toyama, an efficient offense and splendid playmaking decisions carried Tokyo past the hosts.
The Alvark, who completed a series sweep, shot 50 percent (24 of 58) from inside the 3-point arc.
Forward Zack Baranski led Tokyo (29-7) with 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting and handed out four assists. Diante Garrett added 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Daiki Tanaka and Keijuro Matsui scored 15 points apiece and steady Joji Takeuchi chipped in with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Alvark chalked up 21 assists against three turnovers.
For Toyama (8-30), Drew Viney had 22 points and nine rebounds. Naoki Uto finished with 11 points and six assists for the Grouses. Frontcourt standout Sam Willard, a University of the Pacific alum, topped both 3,000 points and 3,000 rebounds in regular-season games in Japan since joining the rival Sendai 89ers for the 2012-13 campaign, supplying 10 points, 10 boards and three blocks in the series finale.
Hannaryz 85, Albirex BB 75
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Kyoto took a commanding 43-30 lead into the locker room at halftime and maintained a firm grip on the proceedings over the final 20 minutes to salvage a weekend split.
Kevin Kotzur had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Hannaryz (19-19) and frontcourt mate Marcus Dove scored 16 points. Yusuke Okada poured in 13 points, while Hayato Kawashima, Sunao Murakami and Lawrence Hill all scored nine.
Kyoto won the rebounding battle (41-35 margin).
The Hannaryz converted 25 of 41 2-point shots and limited Niigata to 25 makes on 60 attempts.
Clint Chapman led the Albirex with 33 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Kei Igarashi supplied 13 points and four assists. Shunki Hatakeyama and Stephan Van Treese each scored 10 points.
Niigata missed 15 of 18 3-point shots.
Sunrockers 87, Golden Kings 71
In Okinawa City, Leo Vendrame put 21 points on the board, igniting Shibuya in a bounce-back victory over Ryukyu.
The 23-year Vendrame made 8 of 12 shots from the field and corralled seven rebounds in one of his best performances of the season.
R.T. Guinn and Yuki Mitsuhara scored 14 points apiece, with Mitsuhara dishing out five assists for the Sunrockers (17-19). Ex-NBA big man Robert Sacre contributed 12 points, including a pair of dunks, eight rebounds and two steals and Kenta Hirose had 10 points.
In the rout, Shibuya shot 60 percent (27-for-45) from inside the arc.
Reyshawn Terry and Shuhei Kitagawa had 13 points apiece for the Golden Kings (16-22). Ryuichi Kishimoto provided 12 points and five assists and Ryunosuke Watanabe added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Second-division update: Here are Sunday’s results from the second flight: Fukushima Firebonds 83, Kagawa Five Arrows 79; Ehime Orange Vikings 88, Aomori Wat’s 81; Nishinomiya Storks 65, Iwate Big Bulls 53; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 90, Ibaraki Robots 65; Tokyo Excellence 74, Yamagata Wyverns 70; Shimane Susanoo Magic 73, Earthfriends Tokyo Z 58; Shinshu Brave Warriors 83, Kumamoto Volters 82; and Bambitious Nara 85, Kagoshima Rebnise 80.
Shimane leads the 18-team second division with a 32-6 record.