“I’m excited to be back. I just took a year-long vacation in California and now I’m back home,” Tolliver said. “I’m looking forward to bringing something to this team that it was missing last year. I actually kept a really close eye on the Pistons last year and had a chance to talk with Reggie and Andre a little bit. “That was something I could see from afar that was missing here — no disrespect to the guys who were here. Guys need leaders and people who are willing to speak up and talk to them in situations that they don’t really want to be talked to in.”
Watanabe, who played four years for the Colonials in Foggy Bottom, is now chasing an NBA dream with an entire country’s hope on his shoulders. He is aiming to become just the second Japanese-born player to reach basketball’s pinnacle. It’s a responsibility he carries with pride. “I know there was only one Japanese player who played in the NBA like a long time ago, so he was the only one,” Watanabe said. “If I can make it, I know that’s a really big thing in Japan. That would make young guys come to the U.S. and play basketball in the U.S. I want to be one of the pioneers for younger guys.”
Now, as Watanabe has set his sights on the NBA, he has focused on others to model his game after. He said he watches film of Jazz forward Joe Ingles because he sees similarities in their game. “I see myself trying to be like him. He’s a lefty, a great shooter and a great defender. I’ve been watching his tape a lot,” Watanabe said.
Kobe Bryant: 👀 @Jaylen Brown We’re looking at the @Marc D’Amico pushing hard in transition vs the @Cleveland Cavaliers in the next episode of DETAIL. It’s up now on the ESPN+ app. #NBAPlayoffs #EasternConferenceFinals #detail