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Hachimura and Watanabe Make Japanese NBA History

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hachimura and watanabe make japanese nba history
J-NBA Idols...

Swapping jerseys postgame like a ‘One Last Dance’, Dwyane Wade retirement tradition. Read all about it in this land of the rising sun morning on the same front broadsheet page of The Japan Times in this Kobe hotel that headline tells us the ‘National Stadium Is Ready For The Olympics’ in Tokyo 2020. Last night Japanese born Basketball players Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe met and made NBA history for the very first time, in something so news and noteworthy that it wasn’t just big in Japan.

Rookie Rui may have only had a Ron Measley 10 points for the losing Washington Wizards and sophomore Yuta a missed bucket, yet three rebounds for the Memphis Grizzlies thank you very much. But this contest was so much more than a box score. Even when the Hustle of the G-League affiliate Watanabe checked in and forced Hachimura into an air all as the two players faced off for the first time on their way to 128-111 Memphis rocking win over the Wiz.

“We haven’t lost like that in a long time”, The Japan Times reported Washington leader Bradley Beal as telling the press postgame.

But for Japan and the watching world that’s rotating more around the Spalding, this global game was all about numbers 8 and 18 as Basketball borders got smaller, breaking down barriers and walls.

Hachimura (who is one of the top ten best rookies this year and is doing for the Washington Wizards in Japan what Yao Ming did for the Houston Rockets in China (did you see Tracy McGrady’s recent reception? And this is with the current state of the NBA over there following LeBron and James Harden’s (also a Rocket) misinformed comments)) and Watanabe (who already has wrote an autobiography in Japan with ‘Liking Yields Power’ which I can Google Translate tell you even in Kanji (speaking of which how about some team City Edition jerseys in Japanese script for a real solidarity statement? The Wizards have already created an official Japanese Twitter for character) has a beautiful message that isn’t lost in translation like Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson) made storied league and land history by becoming the first Japanese players to share the court together as they Cage and Travolta faced off as opponents.

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“It felt extremely weird” Rui told press of his brief exposure with Yuta. The two national teammates and friends were only on court together for a minute (the wonderful Watanabe deserves more hardwood time and less on the pine…maybe on their next matchup which will be seen for more than dollars and yen), but it meant so much more for a nation of millions no longer being held back when it comes to hoops.

Yuta Watanabe made history last year in Tennessee and helped pace the way for Rui Hachimura who is having a monumental moment in the U.S. capital D.C. Helping lead a neon bright charge for more rising sons from Japan on the calender eve of the year were they are going to own the sportsworld like they didn’t just hold the Rugby World Cup this Summer.

Rui and Yuta next meet in the nation’s capital for a rematch in D.C. that will surely put them and their nation even more on the map this season. All before the summer they truly takeover as teammates in Tokyo. Leading the way and carrying the torch for Japan’s basketball future in the 2020 Olympics.

And you’re going to want a piece of those historic jerseys.

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CEBL

Ottawa BlackJacks select Osvaldo Jeanty as first-ever Head Coach

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ottawa blackjacks select osvaldo jeanty as first ever head coach
Ottawa BlackJacks introduce Head Coach Osvaldo Jeanty

The pieces of the puzzle are coming together for the Ottawa BlackJacks basketball team.

The start-up Ottawa basketball professional club named former five-time Canadian University champion Osvaldo Jeanty as the franchise first-ever head coach. General Manager Dave Smart made the announcement on Friday morning following a brief search that always included Jeanty’s name at the top of the list.

“Obviously, Osvaldo and I have had a long history together since he was probably 15 or 14, playing club basketball on the Ottawa Guardsmen to his time at Carleton (as player) and then he was my assistant coach at Carleton”, discussed Smart during the press conference.

“Os and I have worked together from a coach, assistant coach perspective, so I know what he’s about in terms of what his exceptions are, and we’re very much inline in terms of what our expectations are, and he knows how I operate and is comfortable working with me. So I think it’s an obvious fit, it’s and easy fit and we are really excited to start working together and put a team on the floor”, further elaborated the former Carleton Ravens on his selection process.

ottawa blackjacks hire osvaldo jeanty as first ever head coach
Ottawa BlackJacks hire Osvaldo Jeanty as first-ever Head Coach

“It’s the first time he’s called me Osvaldo so many times since I was 15, I’m not really used to it.” a smiling Jeanty opened-up about his longtime head coach and mentor during his introductory speech.

Jeanty + Smart winning combination since the late 1990’s

The duo go back to late 1990’s with Jeanty playing for Smart at the Midget and Ontario Basketball U-19 Provincial teams. Under Smart’s guidance, Jeanty flourished as player helping turn the Carleton Ravens’ basketball program into the powerhouse that it is today.

The Ravens’ won five (2002-2007) straight U Sports men’s basketball championships during their time together as a coach-player combo — with Jeanty earning the Final 8 Jack Donohue championship MVP trophy twice, during his freshman and junior campaigns. A proven winner at all levels, Jeanty turned an outstanding collegiate career into a six year pro career, earning a championship with the Giants Nördlingen of Germany’s ProA league.

Inducted into Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame in 2015 — Jeanty earned an additional two titles as a coaching duo during their three-year (2016-19) stretch.

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Both Jeanty and Smart were featured on the cover of the first-ever Canadian Basketball Magazine on March of 2005.

“I just wanted to say how thankful I am to Dave to Mike (Morreale) to the league for giving me this opportunity, also just for the Ottawa community. I’ve been here since I was six-years old and I appreciate what the community has given to me and the opportunity to be able give back to the community that has been so good to me is something that I’m very thankful for. So thank you and I look forward to really bringing a good product out there for the city, for the team and really representing the league the right way.”

osvaldo jeanty carleton ravens win first ever u sports mens basketball championship in 2003
Mike Smart, Jafeth Maseruka, Josh Porier, Osvaldo Jeanty, Rob Smart and Carleton Ravens win first-ever CIS/U Sports Men’s Basketball Championship In 2003

As for the type of style and brand of the basketball the BlackJacks expect to play — Jeanty offered a glimpse of the same championship formula that has led to many successful moments between the now general manager and head coach tandem.

“He’s put into my head since I was 15, in terms of the keys to winning championships and I tend to follow the same of idea. You defend, you rebound, you don’t turnover the ball over — but at the same time you have 24 seconds on the shot clock so you want to play as fast a possible while not turning over the basketball.”

The attention now turns to rounding out the remaining coaching staff positions and the complex process of putting together a championship calibre team — that will undoubtedly have it’s sights on establishing an early grip on the proudly Canadian made Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) championship trophy.

With the addition of Jeanty to the head coaching ranks the CEBL now features two former Carleton Ravens’ players turned bench bosses. Niagara River Lions head coach Victor Raso also won two national championships as a member of the Ravens.

Coincidentally, Jeanty’s head coaching debut will be against Raso as the Ottawa BlackJacks will kick-off the inaugural 2020 season on the road on May 7th against the Niagara River Lions. The BlackJacks home opener is scheduled for May 14th against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.

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NBA

A Rose For Kuz?

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a rose for kuz
Rose Reunion?

The Rose that grew from the career incasing concrete of a plaster cast, potential legacy ending injury is still in bloom.

Now that’s legendary.

That’s inspiration.

As a matter of fact with the trade deadline nearer than your office one, right now nothing smells better than Pooh.

Currently more than motoring on with the Detroit Pistons in Motown, the rejuvenation of Derrick Rose has already had his redemption season. Howling back with the Minnesota Timberwolves the last 82. But in this one mirroring his prime time stats as a Bull and the next era after M.J. for the Chicago way, it’s still a story as good as a Dwight Howard Hollywood reunion or blazing Carmelo comeback out in Oregon.

And now like the former D12, D. Rose could be heading to the wild west like the one Anthony the Lakers didn’t get in the end (but should of). But like the young core, Ingram, Ball and Hart trade for A.D. is the prize worth the price?

Although Derrick is linked with the 76ers like every superstar over the past few seasons and a reunion with Chicagoland (which Basketball God’s would be the perfect closing chapter to this story that is albeit still being wrote by his own penmanship), the Benjamin Franklin’s are on Rose reuniting with King James although he called his Cleveland time with the classic Cavalier “super awkward”.

Awks.

The former number one, that draft pick and NBA MVP is still most valuable and at 31 is almost a half decade younger than the King. Plus with awesome averages of 18.3 points on 50.3 percent from the field in 25.8 minutes and 5.9 assists per contest this campaign, the guy wants more time and to get out of the elimination standings.

Clockwork and contention could certainly be on the cards for Rose who let’s face it at his age and stage and with the numbers he’s putting up is still a superstar, hate it or love it. He’s been put through the ringer for his career like Bill Simmons or Shea Serrano, but now he’s being called on like Phil Collins to be one of the games greats like the genesis of his association with National Basketball.

So he may just be worth a package deal like your next vacation. Even if the Lakers are offering Kyle Kuzma and Quinn Cook for his services. Can I make a counter offer of Cook, Troy Daniels (great…but underused) and DeMarcus Cousins (although I do want to see how big he can literally get coming back and grunting with former post Pelican powerhouse Anthony Davis)? Throw in Drummond and it’s a go. Like Jerry Seinfeld superimposed into ‘Deal Or No Deal’ by NBC’s ’30 Rock’, “I gotta take that deal!”

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Pair Rose with LeBron and the frontcourt force of Howard and of course Davis then these London Olympic teammates would make for what a couple of five ring contests ago on dry erase would look like a dream team. And it still wakes up notions of one to this date in the 2020 year of Tokyo thanks to Vogels vision. But would the show be giving up too much this time?

“This time”…yeah right!

Quinn Cook has California championship pedigree, splashing with the brothers in Golden State like shopping on Rodeo Drive. And this Warrior has been integral this season. His number 2 from downtown reminding me of the should be retired clutch king Fisher (we can always raise 0.4 to the STAPLES rafters) and making me feel happier about buying a Lonzo Ball statement jersey last year…hey if I wear it under a jacket it looks like I’m cooking up love and representation for Quinn.

And then there’s Kuz.

If the Lakers trade away Kyle Kuzma then they will be giving up the last piece of their incredibly curated young core that is flying with the Pelicans right now. Although how could I forgot about the untouchable, All Star Alex Carushow and the fact that Anthony Davis isn’t calendar far from Larry Nance Jr. and new Jazz 6 man Jordan Clarkson?

Although Rose solves the Lakers perimeter problems and feels in the same prime time as what could be his All Star teammates (how legendary would a Rose/Rondo backcourt be although it’s hard not to know whether to deal him or Cook?), Kuz seems too good to let cruise like Tom. This top gun may have struggled early this season, but he was coming back from injury Lakers Twitter. And recently he’s been that Worthy third option behind the Big Game Magic of James and his Kareem or Shaq to his Kobe number 3 partner, waiting on those Jordan digits next season when the King carries the 6.

30 for 30 putting up “trade this” exclamatory numbers in the dynamic duos absence, even Batman and Robin needed a Nightwing. And as much as Rose could help the new Lake Showtime bloom and grow like fine wine for all of LeBron’s merlot men, you could imagine Kyle making the Lakers pay play after play like a D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle off the team that draft clever, but trade stupid.

Keep the player. Trade the barber.

Zero to 1. The legend or the future superstar? The choice for this deal is the Kings.

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