Star guards Yuki Togashi, Makoto Hiejima and Daiki Tanaka headline the Japan men’s national team’s 12-man roster for the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup, the Japan Basketball Association announced on Tuesday.
Most of the squad that competed at June’s East Asia Championship in Nagano, where the Akatsuki Five finished third, was brought back.
It will be the first major tournament for the team with new Argentine head coach Julio Lamas at the helm. Lamas arrived in Japan last week.
Up next: Japan will play a pair of tuneup games against Uruguay at Aoyama Gakuin University on Saturday and Sunday and then travel to Spain to play a few more exhibitions before the Asia Cup.
“The exhibitions will be the first games for us to play under our new coach, so I would like to showcase myself well so I can secure playing minutes among our deep guard corps,” said Togashi, who plays for the Chiba Jets Funabashi, in a team-issued statement.
Additional players include veteran sharpshooter Takatoshi Furukawa, the B. League Championship final MVP who transferred from the title-winning Tochigi Brex to the Ryukyu Golden Kings this summer, gifted dunker Ira Brown, who also moved to Ryukyu this offseason, young phenom Yudai Baba, who will join the Alvark Tokyo next season, and Brex big man Kosuke Takeuchi will also don the Japan jersey in the Aug. 8-20 tourney in Beirut.
Energetic Kawasaki Brave Thunders guard Ryusei Shinoyama, who has previously not been selected to the national team for major championships, made the list as well.
“I feel both delight and responsibility as I have been chosen among the 12 men,” Shinoyama said in a statement.
Serbian Luka Pavicevic served as the national team’s interim bench boss before Lamas’ arrival.
Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia comprise Group D for the preliminary round of the 16-team Asia Cup. The top three teams from each of the four groups will advance to the knockout round.
Japan will take on Australia in its first tournament contest on Aug. 8 at Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex.
Guards — Ryoma Hashimoto, SeaHorses Mikawa; Yuki Togashi, Chiba Jets Funabashi; Ryusei Shinoyama, Kawasaki Brave Thunders; Makoto Hiejima, Mikawa; Yudai Baba, Alvark Tokyo; Daiki Tanaka, Tokyo; Takatoshi Furukawa, Ryukyu Golden Kings.
Forwards — Ryumo Ono, Chiba; Ira Brown, Ryukyu; Tenketsu Harimoto, Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.
Centers — Atsuya Ota, San-en NeoPhoenix; Kosuke Takeuchi, Tochigi.
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