The Shiga Lakestars have hired veteran athletic trainer Yusuke Nakayama as their performance supervisor, the team announced on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old’s professional experience includes working for the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons as an intern athletic trainer early in his career.

From September 2013 to June 2018, Nakayama served as an assistant athletic trainer/performance scientist for the Cleveland Cavaliers. During Nakayama’s stint with the Cavs, the team reached the NBA Finals in each of his final four seasons. The LeBron James-led Cavaliers won their first NBA title in 2016.

In June 2018, Nakayama established TMG Athletics, which specializes in personal training, in Shiga Prefecture.

Now, he’s also eager to contribute to the Lakestars’ success in a vital supporting role.

“…In the NBA, I was in a position to give priority to player health, safety and performance rather than team victory,” Nakayama said in a statement. “But this work is to create a winning team, which is a big challenge for myself. I know the difficulty of winning a basketball game … (and) I would like to work closely with the coaches, trainers and medical staff to lead the team to victory.”

Nakayama received a Ph.D. in kinesiology/athletic training in 2013 from Michigan State. He earned a master’s degree in kinesiology/athletic training from the University of Arkansas in 2008. In 2005, he received a bachelor’s degree in sports science from Waseda University.

In related news, Australian bench boss Shawn Dennis last week received a new two-year contract to continue leading the Lakestars.

“Very exciting to have Yusuke Nakayama on board with @shigalakestars for next @B_LEAGUE season,” Dennis tweeted. “Will help our club continue to increase our on court professionalism and improvement. I look forward to talking to him in depth about the NBA player management and training.”

The Lakestars posted an 18-42 record this season, Dennis’ second season at the helm.

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