• Staff writer


Akatsuki Five star Yudai Baba has signed with Australian powerhouse Melbourne United, the National Basketball League team announced on Sunday.

The five-time NBL champion announced that Baba has been signed as a Special Restricted Player, allowing him to compete as a local player on the United roster.

“We haven’t signed a Special Restricted Player before, so we are definitely excited to have signed Baba,” Melbourne CEO Vince Crivelli said in a statement. “And we’re looking forward to welcoming him to our club.”

The former Alvark Tokyo guard played for the G League’s Texas Legends in the 2019-20 season, which was cut short in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24-year-old, who has been a regular member of Japan’s men’s team, averaged 6.3 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 41.1 percent from outside the 3-point arc for the Legends.

“I’ve signed with Melbourne United of the NBL,” Baba tweeted following the team’s official announcement. “I’m very grateful that the team gave me the opportunity and I’m going to do my best.”

Baba is scheduled to hold a news conference in Tokyo on Monday.

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