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Big In Japan…Time For The NBA To Get Ready For Yuta Watanabe

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Big In Japan Time For The Nba To Get Ready For Yuta Watanabe
Yuta In Translation...

Tokyo, Japan. It’s about a fortnight ago as this Buzz writer is burning the insomniac midnight oils in an APA chain hotel with a pizza delivery (man I love Japanese food) on the last night of his vacation in the Far East. Surfing the channels looking for some sport to play with there’s little between the honoured traditions of sumo wrestling and the pitch and swing of the candy red, white and blue of baseball. As national a sport to this country as pinstripes are uniform to the Yankees. But then whilst remote hopping I see a solitary figure hooping that looks taller than the Tokyo Tower and Skytree combined.

Meet Yuta Watanabe. The second Japanese player to enter the NBA after the same first named Yuta Tabuse after his 17 games with the Phoenix Suns. The most famous Watanabe since ‘The Last Samurai’ star Ken. Ready to inception write his next chapter in translation like Murakami, South of the border, West of the sun.

Saying this kid is big in Japan is a major understatement. Over in the land of the rising sun they call their rising son, “the chosen one” like a certain King out in Hollywood. Watanabe has such a legion of followers that one frustrated fan threw their newborn baby at him. Not as an insult, but anything for a selfie. Now that’s one hell of a picture. But mamas and papas, please, we beg you…don’t try this at home. “Aah I can’t get through this crowd…here take my baby. HEADS UP!”

Good job like this countries favourite outfield recreational pastime, Yuta knows how to catch with those mitts.

And what a catch he is like the right swipe on Tinder. Everyone was swiping left on draft day apparently as Yuta Watanabe went undrafted for basketball Gods know why. He should have hit the lotto, but after a scorching Summer League with Brooklyn in Las Vegas this rookies odds went up in the desert city of sin. But just when you thought the B.K.’s stock was rising with their ace in the hole, Y.W., the neon went out. But not whilst crossing the Times Square lights of Shibuya. Apparently averages of 9.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.60 blocks in 24.0 minutes at the tables of the MGM weren’t enough for a team that lives and dies with the ice in D’Angelo Russell’s veins. But it’s enough for a bear bigger than the one that served up Leonardo DiCaprio like a sliced and diced, filleted fish in ‘The Revenant’.

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Told you he was a catch.

Now the Nets loss is the Grizzlies gain. As the former expansion Vancouver franchise expands the league further international by bringing this kid with slick Elvis hair to the blue suede, rock and roll town of Memphis, Tennessee. Presley would be proud thank you very much.

The Kagawa native who graduated from George Washington University after four fantastic years (including a 2017-18 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year senior campaign, averaging 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.64 blocks in 36.6 minutes) now has a two way home on Beale Street with the Grizz’s G-League affiliate the Memphis Hustle. But don’t expect too many Gatorade breaks for a phenom potential player who is already a legend in the legacy making as a member of Japan’s international team getting ready for the 2020 Olympic Games in host city Tokyo. This 6,9, 240 pound forward thinking swingman with Bullet Train hustle could be Memphis’ next Pau Gasol foreign legend teaming with brother Marc, Mike Conley Jnr and the contract of the Chandler Parsons project.

It’s safe to say that even if the draft didn’t blow him our way, this wind of change from the Far East is now in season.

Yutamania like the ‘Norwegian Wood’ of Beatlemania rocking and rolling like the King (and this time we ain’t talkin’ about ‘Bron) over there is in full effect!

So what he didn’t get drafted this Summer! By March the one who brought Madness this third month of the year will blossom again like cherry. With all the X’s and O’s at the tools of his disposal, the 23 year young Yuta Watanabe’s basketball I.Q. and ceiling has a Fuji peak.

Time to make the climb. The rookie ladder is waiting.

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NBA

RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX

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RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX
What Time Is It...

Blazing!

Even two games down the Thunder bolt boys joked like the last laugh that was yet to be delivered, like this what’s the 4-1 punchline. Zero to zero for the best series of these NBA Playoffs so far, Russell Westbrook rocked the baby at Damian Lillard, before mocking his wrist watch celebration like he did Laker meme Lance Stephenson’s air guitar strumming one with D’Angelo Russell ice in his veins. All before Paul George double pumped a dunk as time expired on a game that was already decided way before the horn blared.

But then last night in the face of P.G. the PDX P.G. beat the buzzer as Dame Time struck from way downtown RIP City, with an Austin 3:16 bottom line to give OKC the history engraved tombstone and the Portland Trail Blazers a legendary storied, legacy making championship belt for this classic series in hardwood history.

Damian Lillard 37 Footer Over Paul George
Damian Lillard buries series clinching 37-footer over Paul George – Photo Blazers

37 feet high and rising from deep. Deep as the halfcourt abyss. With the this time of season cherry blossoms blooming outside Portlandia’s Moda Center, the City of Roses was handing everyone from basketballs Oklahoma home funeral flowers. And leading the precession, hearse wrapping it up like his killer bars, Dame D.O.L.L.A was right on the money like exact change only please. Even if Paul George walking off in defeat like LeBron James and getting his Vlade Divac on in a press conference more awkward than a blind date with an ex called it a “bad shot”. To which the great Dame simply replied with a tweeted “lol” (see also, laugh and last). He better Big Shot Bobby Horry check a newspaper or something. Dame Time didn’t just beat the buzzer. He took baby powder to it. As Dame had all the Louis Armstrong time in the world with ten on the clock and the last shot in this final frame to dribble drive or dish. But instead, toying with George like a cat does a mouse, as David beat Goliath like Jerry did Tom, Lillard had the sand to set up shop, his spot and his shot from what looked like a bunker. A hole in one, with the cocksure confidence of Tiger Woods putting for Masters glory in Augusta and embracing his kids, two decades after doing the same with his pops all for the green jacket.

From this master, like a tap in putt with no Mulligan to carry, this was always going in. Nothing but net. All water like those Thunder tears. O.K. now that was a 3.

And to think I swore I wouldn’t go back on social media until after the new Avengers movie came out, but DAMN Dame Time! Spoiler alert, this is the new ‘Endgame’ now.

Cousy. Pettit. Sam Jones. Wilt. Chuck Barkley. M.J. And now the Dame train as the legendary Lillard goes hard to join this lineage as the only players to hit 50 in a playoff clinching game. And what a way to do it, fading away to clock out of the game and series 118-115 for the greatest Portland playoff moment since the G.O.A.T’s shrug. As mobbed by teammates on the floor he sank into, telling Russ to ‘Get Out’ his house. Peeling off like Jordan, Damian all on his own like a devil, GIF turned into an instant meme, as he turned the Thunder into a memory (you know the one were everyone loses their mind around that smirking kid with glasses in the raincoat? Well now guess which superheroes face is super imposed?). Staring into the camera with that look you know was for Russell Westbrook.

Blazers Win Damian Lillard Buries 37 Footer
Blazers Win. – Photo: Portland Trail Blazers

What a whole mood.

Whose left holding the baby now?

Dame didn’t even have to check his watch. Why? Him, her, them. They all knew what time it was. His. As Dame Lillard just did it in the Oregon home of Nike. Shoe dog like Phil Knight, running off victory for the courtside crowd, including legendary comedian Cedric the Entertainer for this last laugh lap. As this Gladiator hit one of the best and biggest shot fired in NBA history. Subliminal and literal.

Are you not entertained?

Why not?

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NBA

Two-time U Sports MVP Kadre Gray declares for NBA Draft

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Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Declares For Nba Draft
Photo: Laurentian Voyageurs

Two-time U Sports basketball player of the year Kadre Gray of the Laurentian Voyageurs has declared for the 2019 NBA Draft.

Gray, a 6’1″, 190 lbs junior guard from Toronto, Ontario has been terrorizing Canadian university basketball since his freshman season — cementing his legacy as a two-time MVP and scoring champion with a ridiculous 26.3 points per game career average in three full-seasons with the Voyageurs.

The 2016-17 U Sports rookie of the year award winner took the league by storm — leading the country in scoring as a freshman with 23.2 points per game. He finished second in his sophomore season with 24.4 points per game and led the nation in assists total with 141.

He took his game to a different stratosphere in his junior season — increasing his league-leading output to the third highest scoring average in Canadian university hoops since 1981-1982 with 31 points per game.

Calgary Dinos’ all-time great’s Richard Bohn and Karl Tilleman both led the nation with higher and ironically, identical scoring averages.

Both Bohn and Tilleman averaged 32.8 points per game. Bohn doing it during the 1995-1996 season and Tilleman, a two-time Canadian Olympian and NBA draft pick dominating the league in 1981-82 — before Canada’s adoption of the three-point line.

Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Dribbling Declares For Nba Draft
U Sports MVP Kadre Gray dribbling against Ottawa Gee-Gees – Photo: Laurentian Voyageurs

Not a one-trick-pony, Gray averaged 7.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists, 1.6 steals in 34.1 minutes per game.

Gray erupted for a career-high 48 points in a 101-81 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves — shooting 13-of-23 from the floor and burying 19-of-20 shots from the foul-line on November 3rd, 2018.

He delivered his third 40-plus point game of his career with another impressive performance — 16-of-29 shooting against the Ryerson Rams on February 9th, 2019 — his lowest scoring output of the season was 23 points on multiple occasions.

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Kadre Gray U Sports Basketball Highlights
Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Caree Conference Stats
Laurentian Voyageurs’ Kadre Gray Career Conference Stats
Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Caree Conference Stats Other Stats
Laurentian Voyageurs’ Kadre Gray Career Conference Stats
Kadre Gray FIBA Americas Qualifiers Against Brazil
Kadre Gray takes it to the rack during FIBA Americas Qualifiers Against Brazil – Photo: FIBA

Gray also represented Canada during the FIBA Basketball World Cup process playing in games against Venezuela and Brazil.

Prior to Laurentian, Gray honed his skills as a two-time athlete at Eastern Commerce Collegiate for three-years — leaving track and field (high jump, 100 meters) in the rear-view mirror and transferring to rival Oakwood Collegiate to conclude his high school career.

Ryerson’s seven-foot center Tanor Ngom also declared, making it the first time in the history of Canadian university basketball that two U Sports players have entered the draft.

Additionally, with a record number of Canadian players in the NCAA tossing their names in the draft process we should expect 2019 to be the biggest year for Canadian’s at the NBA Draft.

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