Meisei High School made a historic comeback Tuesday to capture the Winter Cup with a 72-70 win over Higashiyama High in the boys’ final in Tokyo. The winning shot with five seconds to spare came courtesy of part-Guinean forward Ibu Yamazaki, exemplifying the increasing ethnic diversity at the competition, writes Kaz Nagatsuka. Oka Gakuen High added another trophy to its mantle Monday with a win over Tokyo Seitoku University High in the girls’ final.
Staying with youth basketball, the Tokyo Samurai squad, formed in 2014, is a unique presence on the scene, writes Nagatsuka. It consists mainly of athletes from international and U.S. base schools in Japan and isn’t eligible to compete in conventional high school tournaments. But it’s proving to be a well of talent from diverse backgrounds, forcing the establishment to sit up and take notice.
Meanwhile, bridging the pro and amateur worlds, teen phenom Yuki Kawamura is back in the B. League, months after his sensational debut— but in a different jersey. The 19-year-old has signed with the Yokohama B-Corsairs under the specially designated player rule, meaning he’ll remain an amateur. And good news for the B. League: Club financial reports for the season show the damage due to the pandemic has not been as severe as anticipated, thanks to the circuit’s consistent growth in popularity, writes Nagatsuka.
News from the Washington Wizards is less cheery: Forward Rui Hachimura will miss roughly the first three weeks of the NBA season, meaning 10 games, with an eye infection commonly known as pink eye. Earlier in the month, Hachimura said he thinks the team could reach the playoffs in his second NBA season, with improved health and the return of three stars to be keys to the Wizards’ success.
The 2020-21 campaign will arguably be the most important yet for new Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe, since it’s the last year he can play as a two-way signing, writes Nagatsuka. He knows he’ll have to raise his game to remain with the NBA team.