Basketball

Texas Legends' Yudai Baba to compete in NBA G League Winter Showcase for first time

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Texas Legends swingman Yudai Baba is playing in this week’s NBA G League Winter Showcase for the first time.

The four-day event tips off on Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Twenty-eight G League teams are scheduled to compete in the event, which gives NBA front offices and talent evaluators an opportunity to watch prospective NBA players in an ideal setting. Players can secure promotion and future contracts by making a positive impression.

The games are not open to the public.

For Baba, who starred for the B. League’s Alvark Tokyo during the club’s 2017-18 and 2018-19 title-winning season, it’s a chance to showcase his skills on the big stage. And he will compete in front of scouts from all 30 NBA teams for the first time since suiting up for the Legends at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The guard/forward has appeared in 14 Legends games this season. He’s averaging 2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 0.6 steals while playing 12.9 minutes per game.

Last Friday, the Toyama Prefecture native had a special guest at the Legends’ home game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in Frisco, Texas.

Hideo Fukushima, the Consul-General of Japan in Houston, was on hand at Comerica Center to see Baba contribute nine points, one rebound, two assists and a steal in Texas’ 129-121 victory.

After the game, Baba took part in a meet-and-greet session with Fukushima and others.

Fukushima, the senior representative of the Japanese government in Oklahoma and Texas, described Baba this way: “Young and promising, he will certainly rise up to the even higher level.”