Capable playmaker Seiya Ando leaves the rebuilding Akita Northern Happinets to play for the new-look Alvark Tokyo.
And with the move, he may experience a lot more winning in the upcoming campaign, too.
The Alvark went 44-16 this past season; the Happinets had an 18-42 regular-season mark.
For Tokyo, Ando is listed as a rental transfer with a contract from July 14 until June 30, 2018.
Between the lines, it appears the demoted-to-the-B2 Happinets, now led by new Spanish sideline supervisor Josep “Pep” Claros, are employing cost-cutting tactics for the immediate future, while the Alvark continue to look for ways to spend cash and remain competitive at the same time.
Ando, who turned 25 on Saturday, averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists for Akita in the inaugural B. League campaign.
It will be interesting to see how the talented backcourt youngster fits into new coach Luka Pavicevic’s system.
“I would like to devote full effort to every game to win,” the Tokyo native said in a statement.
Will Ando become an indispensable part of the Tokyo lineup?
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, the Alvark have finalized a deal with former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jawad Williams, according to euro-basket.com.
In 2007-08, Williams, a University of North Carolina alum, played for Rera Kamuy Hokkaido in the JBL before joining the Cavs in ’08.
Still in the game
Veteran forward Jo Kurino, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 bj-league draft by the Oita HeatDevils, will suit up for the Fighting Eagles Nagoya of the second division in the 2017-18 season.
The transaction, which was announced by the Fighting Eagles on Wednesday, sends Kurino to his third team in as many seasons.
He helped the Shimane Susanoo Magic post a 51-9 record, tops in B2, last season, and played for the Hiroshima Dragonflies the previous campaign. The Fighting Eagles were one of the top B2 clubs, winning 42 of 60 games last season.
The University of Mount Olive (North Carolina) product began his Japan career with OSG Phoenix before Oita opted to take the 195-cm Kurino with the top pick — and make him the answer to a trivia question until the end of time.
Following a stint with the HeatDevils and now-defunct Tokyo Apache, Kurino returned to the HeatDevils before moving on to the JBL’s Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins, Levanga Hokkaido and Kumamoto Volters.
Seattle Pro-Am update
Guard Kosei Ban of the Ehime Orange Vikings has appeared in five games for the Bellingham Slam in the ongoing Seattle Pro-Am tournament, which is run by NBA guard Jamal Crawford.
Ban has contributed 3.0 points a game for the Slam, who are 4-1.
After Sunday’s 104-86 win over Ball Is Life, Bellingham coach Kip Leonetti’s squad has a long layoff until a July 29 game against the Tacoma Thunder at Seattle Pacific University.
Odds and ends
Casey Hill, former Santa Cruz Warriors bench boss and Apache assistant coach, is poised to become the head coach for the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Los Angeles Clippers’ new NBA G League franchise), according to 2 Ways & 10 Days reporter Adam Johnson. . . .
Big man Robert Swift, who suited up for the Apache during the 2010-11 season, when Hill launched his pro coaching career under his father, Bob, on the Tokyo sideline, competed for Team 23 in the 64-team, single-elimination The Basketball Tournament earlier this month.
Team 23 edged Pedro’s Posse 107-82 on July 15 in Las Vegas before an 84-77 loss the next day to Armored Athlete. Swift, a former NBA center, had two points, a rebound, an assist and a block in two busy minutes in the first game; in 16 minutes in the second contest, he scored two points again. Swift’s Team 23 teammates include Larry Owns, who helped the Nishinomiya Storks capture the B2 title in May, and Zach Andrews, a former Osaka Evessa and Niigata Albirex BB standout.
Former bj-league MVP Justin Burrell, with Japan stints with the Yokohama B-Corsairs, Chiba Jets and, most recently, Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, is playing for the top-seeded South region club Overseas Elite in the TBT, which is slated to end on Aug. 3 in Baltimore with a $2 million cash prize for the champion. (There are also Northeast, Midwest and West regions, e.g. modeled after the NCAA Tournament.)
The Kagawa Five Arrows last week appointed Kohei Eto as the replacement for departed American coach Joe Navarro.
Eto, 35, guided the Bambtious Nara for the past two seasons.
The Five Arrows, a second-division outfit, went 19-41 in 2016-17.
Follow new Bambitious bench boss Zeljko Pavlicevic’s coaching academy news by visiting its website, zbca.sakura.ne.jp/ZBCA/Welcome.html (in Japanese).
One of the respected mentor’s missions is to help elevate the craft of coaching in Japan and beyond. Which, it’s this reporter’s observation, is why the work of the Zeljko Elite Basketball Coaching Academy matters in the long run.
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