Basketball / B. League

Golden Kings add Hiroki Fujita to coaching staff

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Ryukyu Golden Kings have added the well-traveled Hiroki Fujita to their coaching staff as an assistant.

The team announcement was made on Tuesday. Two days later, Fujita also began working as a support staff coach and interpreter at the Japan men’s national team’s development camp, which started on Thursday and runs through June 23.

Fujita, 33, began his coaching career as an assistant for the now-defunct Miyazaki Shining Suns of the bj-league in 2011. He then served as a head coach for the Gunma Crane Thunders and Fukushima Firebonds before taking over as bench boss for the San-en NeoPhoenix in 2016.

Fujita parted ways with the NeoPhoenix after the 2018-19 campaign. He guided the Firebonds to the bj-league playoffs as a first-year franchise (2014-15).

“The Ryukyu Golden Kings have always been a team I have seen since I became a professional basketball player and I am happy to be part of it,” Fujita said in a statement.

He added: “Also, I have spent my early childhood in Hawaii, so I really feel (warmth) for Okinawa’s island culture and unique culture, so I am very excited to have the opportunity.

“This time, I am looking forward to challenging myself as an assistant coach … and I will do my best not only to play the game, but also on the day-to-day effort to fulfill all the roles I have. … Using my experience as a head coach, I would like to support head coach (Norio) Sasa firmly, and help and support each other in difficult times.”

Ryukyu won the B. League top flight’s West Division this past season with a 40-20 record.