Basketball / B. League

High-scoring forward Thomas Kennedy joins Hiroshima Dragonflies

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Thomas Kennedy, a dynamic scorer for the Gunma Crane Thunders for four seasons, has joined the Hiroshima Dragonflies.

The move was announced by Hiroshima on Thursday.

Kennedy led the B. League second division in scoring (27.9 points per game) this past season and started all 60 games. He averaged 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals (No. 7 in B2).

The University of Detroit Mercy alum’s free-throw shooting accuracy (87.1 percent) was No. 2 in the second division. He also knocked down 153 of 418 3-point shots.

Gunma went 43-17 in the regular season and advanced to the B2 championship round, where it fell to the Shinshu Brave Warriors.

Hiroshima is coming off a 32-28 season.

“I am really happy to be able to play next season at a great club called the Hiroshima Dragonflies,” said Kennedy, who turned 32 on May 17, in a statement. “Together with fans, sponsors, teammates, coaching staff and team staff, we will achieve the B2 (championship). We look forward to your support and encouragement.”

Before joining Gunma, Kennedy spent several seasons playing for other teams in the bj-league, NBL and B. League. Since 2011, he’s also suited up for the Iwate Big Bulls, Yokohama B-Corsairs, Shimane Susanoo Magic, Chiba Jets and Niigata Albirex BB.

In the 2017-18 campaign, Kennedy excelled as a key backup for the Crane Thunders. He came off the bench in 51 of 60 games, averaging 17.5 points (sixth-best average in B2) and 5.2 rebounds.

In related news, Takeshi Hotta, 41, was introduced as Hiroshima’s new head coach during a Thursday news conference.

Hotta replaces Shota Shakuno, whose resignation was announced on May 10 after one season at the helm.

Before taking over in Hiroshima, Hotta coached the B2’s Kanazawa Samuraiz for two seasons, including a 21-39 record this past season.