Star guard Makoto Hiejima set to join NBL’s Brisbane Bullets

Kyodo

The Tochigi Brex on Thursday announced Japan national team shooting guard Makoto Hiejima will join the Brisbane Bullets in the eight-team National Basketball League of Australia and New Zealand.

Hiejima, the B. League’s reigning MVP in the first division, started his career in 2013 with the Aisin SeaHorses (the SeaHorses Mikawa’s predecessor before the NBL/bj-league merger in 2016). The 191-cm guard will be the first Japan international to play in the Australia-New Zealand pro circuit.

The 28-year-old played a central role in helping Japan shake off a slow start and break through to the second round of qualification for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Hiejima has averaged 16.2 points per game in Japan’s six games, putting him tied for 10th on the competition’s top-scorers list, while shooting an impressive 58.7 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range.

He has been Japan’s most consistent performer in 2019 World Cup qualifying, leading the team in scoring, field-goal percentage, assists and steals.

When Hiejima signed with Tochigi last month, the B. League team indicated they would give him “maximum support to join an overseas league.”