HoopsHype Japan rumors

March 25, 2011 Updates

Tabuse only appeared in four games with the Suns in '04-05, for a whopping total of 17 minutes, but he's been a known quantity to NBA personnel folks for years, even before he was out of high school. When Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey was coaching Japan's national team in the mid-1990s, Casey let Tabuse play in some of the exhibition games leading up to the 1998 FIBA World Championships, cementing Tabuse's rock-star status at home. The little speedster's celebrity is such that he appeared on the cover of the Japanese edition of EA Sports' "NBA Live" video game in 2006, despite the fact that he was waived in training camp by the Los Angeles Clippers in the fall of 2005 and didn't play at all in the NBA in the preceding season. "He's the Ichiro of Japanese basketball," Casey says. ESPN.com

From now on, Tabuse will be playing for his flag more than ever. Whether he's with Link Tochigi or the national team or on NBA summer-league duty somewhere trying to keep that lifelong dream alive, Tabuse will also be playing for the visibility he can bring to Japan's crisis, which has left more than 25,000 people either missing or dead … and has turned the Brex Arena Utsunomiya into a shelter for those displaced by the radiation scare. "The earthquakes are still coming, two times or three times a day," Tabuse said earlier this week. "So we're worried about the earthquakes and the radioactivity. But we [will] try to overcome this. We try to overcome the disaster. "If I keep challenging to make [the] NBA, it's [encouragement] for the Japanese people. Of course I want to play for myself, but I want [to] encourage the victims. I want to play for the Japanese people, especially for the kids." ESPN.com

March 24, 2011 Updates

Pau Gasol, brother Marc, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, JaVale McGee, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are donating $1,000 per point they score in upcoming games to Direct Relief International’s Japan Relief and Recovery Fund. Pau said: “The world’s got to team up. I knew I was going to do something; it was a matter of who and when.” Orange County Register

Spurs Nation will have at least one reason to hope that LaMarcus Aldridge has a big game against the their team Friday night in Portland, while still rooting for a Spurs victory. Aldridge has joined NBA standouts Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Rose of Chicago and Al Horford of Atlanta in pledging $1,000 per point from their Friday games to Japanese relief efforts from the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. San Antonio Express-News

March 23, 2011 Updates

Rose has joined other NBA notables Pau Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, LaMarcus Aldridge from the Portland Trail Blazers and Al Horford from the Atlanta Hawks in pledging to donate $1,000 for every point they score in Friday's games. Direct Relief International announced the initiative, which will provide medical care for those affected by the disaster. Direct Relief created the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund in partnership with the Japanese American Citizens League. “When disaster strikes we are all on the same team,” Rose said in a statement. “Right now we’re all pulling for the people of Japan. Through the good work of Direct Relief International and other organizations in this country, we need to step up and help however we can.” Chicago Tribune

How was the moment of the earthquake for you? Will Graves: At the moment of the earthquake I was asleep on the bus and woke up. I noticed the bus kept swaying side to side. Because there was a snow storm going on, I thought it was the effects from that. We swayed for a couple of minutes, so I just tried to go back to sleep. When we got back to Akita, there was no power in the city. It took us an hour to travel what usually takes 10 minutes by car. As for the rest of the day, night, and next day, there was no power and no way to eat – for me, because I didn’t have the resources. HoopsHype

How much was your city (Akita) affected? It wasn’t affected by the tsunami, right? Will Graves: Akita was affected because due to not having power, the grocery stores were flooded with people raking up the last of what they could. Restaurants were shut down for days and there was no food to buy from the grocery stores. Local convenient stores were the only places to eat. Well, at least for me. Power was turned back on within the next couple of days, but the food resources have not fully regained stock and service. HoopsHype

How hard did you consider leaving? Will Graves: I really never considered leaving because the health issues are not supposed to affect us here in Akita. This is my second chance around and if my health is not at risk, I am going to take full advantage of it. I also like being a part of the fund-raiser and being a supporter in giving help and aid for Sendai. What if the situation at the nuclear plan takes a turn for the worse? Will Graves: If the situation with the plant takes a turn for the worse, then I will maybe consider leaving, because like I said, my health is important to me. HoopsHype

Have you changed your day-to-day habits much? Will Graves: Yes, in some ways I’ve changed my day-to-day habits just in by where and what I eat. Nothing different as far as being outside, but there has been statements that the milk and vegetables have radiation in them. I asked the coach about where we get our crops from and he said our resources should not be affected, so I will probably resume to my normal habits again, once the grocery stores become fully stocked. HoopsHype

Will Graves: Yeah, my college career didn’t end the way I wanted it to and everyone doesn’t always get to do things in the manner they pictured it being done. I grew up a Tar Heel fan, I always dreamed of going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I accomplished those goals. Again, I’m not happy with how everything ended and not saying I wouldn’t want to be there now, but things happen in ways we just have to bounce back and keep fighting from. Coach Williams used this quote a lot during my time there and I am living by it right now… “You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” I am very appreciative of my opportunity at UNC, and I am definitely very appreciative of my second chance. HoopsHype

March 16, 2011 Updates

The Tokyo Apache's season isn't officially over, but the team's American players and head coach, Bob Hill, were busy making plans to leave the country as soon as possible, The Japan Times has learned. With the uncertainty of widespread health risks due to the Fukushima nuclear plant's radiation leak problems in the aftermath of Friday's devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, the Apache's foreign personnel, including Hill, general manager Conor Neu and players Robert Swift (ex-NBA center), Mike Chappell, Justin Johnson, Jeremy Tyler (teenage NBA prospect and projected second-round draft pick), Byron Eaton and Darin Satoshi Maki were on the verge of leaving the country as of press time on Wednesday afternoon. Japan Times

Neu, however, said things are still up in the air. "I'm told the league will make a decision and announce an official statement soon and we're waiting for that," he said. "As with the rest of the country, plans change hourly. The team is still in Tokyo at the moment, although we canceled practice today as we make decisions on what to do." Japan Times

In a number of e-mails and interviews with league sources in recent days, it's become clear that numerous imports from other bj-league teams have discussed or are considered leaving Japan in fear of more natural disasters and health risks. For a league with nearly 35 percent of its players coming from overseas, a mass exodus of players — and possibly foreign head coaches L.J. Hepp (Oita HeatDevils), Zeljko Pavlicevic (Shimane Susanoo Magic), Bob Nash (Saitama Broncos) and Bob Pierce (Akita Northern Happinets) — would compound this unforeseen chain of events. Japan Times

March 12, 2011 Updates
March 11, 2011 Updates

Kobe Bryant’s parents are safe after being evacuated from their Tokyo hotel after an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on Firday, according to the Lakers star. KCAL/9 broadcaster John Ireland, reached on the road, said Friday morning that he talked to Bryant who said his sister had been able to reach their parents. Bryant is on the road with the Lakers, who were headed to Dallas, where they play the Mavericks on Saturday. The Lakers lost to Miami on Thursday. “Apparently everyone is safe,” Ireland said. Orange County Register

Jeremy Tyler, still a few months shy of his 20th birthday, is no stranger to NBA talent evaluators. Though he's playing halfway around the world, the Tokyo Apache's highly touted 210-cm prospect is being closely watched. "I've had about five teams contact me for video, but I know his agent has been speaking with, and providing video for many more," Apache general manager Conor Neu told The Japan Times a few hours after the team's double-overtime loss on Wednesday against the Akita Northern Happinets. Japan Times

Apache coach Bob Hill said talent alone isn't the only factor in the way players are drafted nowadays. "We've started drafting players on potential," he said. "No 19-year-old is going to go into the NBA and help you win. It's not going to happen. As great as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were (coming out of high school) . . . you can help a team win but you are not going to go in and impact a team. "So now we are drafting these young ones and the D-League (NBA Development League) is a big part of it." "His progress has been solid. He's gotten a lot better lately and we'll get back to the States and get him ready for the draft." Japan Times

January 31, 2011 Updates

Courtesy of The Japan Times’ Ed Odeven: OSAKA — Kyoto Hannaryz guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf participated in the 3-Point Shootout during Sunday’s All-Star festivities, providing a thrill for the enthusiastic crowd at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. The former NBA standout gave fans of all ages a delightful memory to talk about in years to come. They can say they saw Abdul-Rauf while he played in Japan. Even though the 41-year-old, averaging 13.9 points per game, probably should have been given a special spot on the Western Conference All-Star squad to drum up greater interest among fans and the media — heck, he was already there to begin with — he holds no grudges. SLAM

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