HoopsHype Robert Swift rumors
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
In 2004, Swift joined the Seattle SuperSonics straight out of high school in Bakersfield, California, when the Sonics made him the 12th overall pick in the first round of the draft. Passing up an opportunity to play college ball at USC, Swift became the first player of Caucasian or Asian descent to join the NBA out of high school. (In 2006, the NBA changed its draft rules, prohibiting players from jumping from high school directly into the world's top basketball league.) "Personally, yes, I'm definitely glad (I skipped college and turned pro out of high school)," Swift said. "It's been hard, but I made it work. Now that I think about it, I don't want to say I agree with the (new draft NBA) rule, but lately I'm starting to favor it a little bit more, just because there are a lot of things that I wanted to do that I didn't coming out of high school--get a degree, study certain things. But it worked out for me." asahi.com
Swift says he does draw a few stares as he cruises around town with his heavily tattooed arms visible but, he notes, "it's more 'oohs and aahs' than it is scared looks and avoidance." Swift also knows enough that he's "not even gonna try" to get into an onsen here. "(My teammates) asked me what the tattoos were, why I do certain things," said Swift, when asked how his fellow-Apache reacted the first time they laid eyes on him. "They're kind of used to it now, but every once in a while I'm sure they're doing the same thing we're doing when we we're thinking, 'Wow, we're in Japan,'" added Swift, who has sported a Mohawk and shaved his head in the past. "They're thinking, 'Wow, we got these (crazy) Americans.'" asahi.com
With four new clubs joining the bj-league next season, more roster spots will open up for imports, too, including those who have spent quality time in the NBA Development League, which a growing number of current bj-league stars have played in. "If Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Kenny Satterfield and Robert Swift continue to play well, of course there will eventually be more former NBA players coming here," a league insider told The Japan Times last week. "It's just that now they will first try the NBADL, Europe, other leagues, and then when their value drops to a certain point, they will join the bj-league. But to get guys recently released or available in the case of a lockout is a long shot. Very, very long shot." Japan Times
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