NEW YORK – Yuta Watanabe, who played four years at George Washington University, has agreed to a two-year, two-way contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA team said Friday.
Under the new concept introduced for the 2017-2018 season, the 23-year-old undrafted rookie forward will spend most of the season in the developmental G League, but will be able to spend a maximum of 45 days on an NBA roster.
Should he be called up, Watanabe will become the second player from Japan to play in the NBA after Yuta Tabuse, who appeared in four games for the Phoenix Suns in 2004 before he was waived by the team three months into the regular season.
“Some of you may already know, but I signed a two-way contract with the Memphis Grizzlies,” Watanabe said on Twitter.
“The real challenge starts from here. I’ll do my best hoping to become a better player. Please continue to support me,” he said.
Watanabe is a graduate of Jinsei Gakuen High School in Kagawa Prefecture.
He became the first player in school history to be named Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in March this year.
After not being drafted last month, the 203-centimeter guard played for the Brooklyn Nets during the Las Vegas Summer League.