RYUKYU GOLDEN KINGS
The team makes their return to Macao after a strong finish in last year’s The Super 8. Since their establishment in 2006, the Kings have continuously been championship contenders. They’ve won four bj League Championships and now have an Asia League title in their sights.
During the 2017-2018 season, the second year of the newly formed B.LEAGUE, the Kings made huge waves. The Kings knew they had to bring more talent onto their roster and that’s just what they did. They brought in veterans Takatoshi Furukawa, an ex-national team player to play alongside naturalized Japanese citizen and team leader, Ira Brown. The Kings have a team full of strong shooters and tough–nosed defensive players that stick to the head coach, Norio Sassa’s game plan. Coach Sassa is an ex-assistant coach of the national team, and he made an immediate impact, leading the team to the conference finals.
This year, the Kings are back with new additions such as Ryouma Hashimoto, ex-national team Point Guard, and dynamic Guard, Narito Namizato, to ensure they don’t fall short of a podium finish at this Asia League event. The Kings’ methodical style of play will challenge any opponent and their high shooting and efficiency rate may very well lead them back to a final four appearance this year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ira Brown is no stranger to Japanese basketball. He came to the Kings after three seasons apiece with the Toyama Grouses and the Shibuya Sunrockers. He’s also been a mentor on the Japanese national team since his naturalization, a two-year process that required he learn Japanese. At 193cm some may consider Brown an undersized Power Forward, but what he lacks in height he makes up for with explosiveness and is coming off of two consecutive B.LEAGUE Dunk Contest Championships (2017, 18).
Veteran playmaker, Narito Namizato, will make his return to the Kings after working on his craft the past three seasons in Kansai. Namizato is still very much in his prime at 28 years old. He is one of the league’s premier passers as his 7.2 assists per game in the 2017-2018 season ranked second in the league.
Finally, there’s the star of the show and fan favorite, Ryuichi Kishimoto. Ryuichi has become a household name in Japan and the sharpshooter is deadly from anywhere on the court. He’s an all-star, a national team player and will look to lead the Kings on a deep run in The Terrific 12.
|51||Takatoshi Furukawa||Power forward, Small forward||10/20/1987|
|33||Ira Brown||Power forward, Small forward||8/3/1982|
|24||Naoki Tashiro||Power forward, Small forward||6/24/1993|
|14||Ryuichi Kishimoto||Shooting guard, Point guard||5/17/1990|
|21||Hayato Kantake||Power forward, Small forward||1/8/1986|
|12||Jeff Ayres||Power forward, Small forward||4/29/1987|
|11||Yutaro Suda||Power forward, Small forward||1/3/1992|
|6||Shigeyuki Kinjo||Shooting guard, Point guard||11/23/1984|
|3||Narito Namizato||Shooting guard, Point guard||8/7/1989|
|1||Ryouma Hashimoto||Shooting guard, Point guard||5/11/1988|
|0||Takumi Ishizaki||Shooting guard, Point guard||7/6/1984|
|Norio Sassa||Head Coach|