Basketball / NBA

Rui Hachimura gets set for Wizards debut

Kyodo

Rui Hachimura was raring to hit the court Friday on the eve of his debut with the Washington Wizards at NBA Summer League.

The 203-cm forward joined teammates for a final practice session before they open their Summer League campaign in Las Vegas against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

Hachimura also worked individually on his free-throw and 3-point shooting.

“I haven’t played a game in ages, so I can’t wait to finally get out there,” a beaming Hachimura told reporters.

The 21-year-old is expected to feature heavily for the Wizards during the NBA Summer League, an offseason proving ground for NBA newcomers along with unsigned players looking to win a roster spot.

Hachimura, the ninth pick in this year’s NBA draft, is set to face No. 1 overall selection Zion Williamson when the Wizards battle the Pelicans. Tickets to their game on Saturday are sold out.

The pair went head-to-head last November in the final of the Maui Invitational, when Hachimura led Gonzaga University past Williamson’s Duke 89-87.

Hachimura is also likely to face Japan teammate Makoto Hiejima in the game, after the Pelicans added the Tochigi Brex shooting guard to their Summer League roster.

“I’m really looking forward to the game and competing against Hiejima-san,” Hachimura said.

In addition to Hachimura and Hiejima, two other Japanese are competing in the league, Memphis Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe and Alvark Tokyo guard Yudai Baba, who is on the Dallas Mavericks’ summer squad.

“Up until now it’s been a question of whether or not even one Japanese player would take part (here),” Hachimura said. “To have four guys here like this is fantastic.”