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Thread: Yuta Watanabe in North America

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    Default Yuta Watanabe in North America

    Yuta Watanabe, the youngster that was included in the Japanese men's senior national team that played in Manila in August, made a good account of himself in the prep showcase in Connecticut.

    http://coxsportsonline.com/2013/11/j...prep-showcase/

    One player to keep a very close eye on is Japanese-born Yuta Watanabe, who will play prep ball at St. Thomas More Preparatory School in Connecticut.

    “Watanabe is intriguing coaches with his combination of size, skill, and athleticism,” says Finkelstein. At his young age, Watanabe already made the men’s national team.

    A 6’7″ forward with a textbook elbow jumper, Watanabe will be certainly one of the most recruited players in New England this season. “He’s shown every indication of being the real deal thus far.”
    After settling in Connecticut early October, Watanabe worked on his conditioning and upper body strength.
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    16 points and 5 rebounds as St. Thomas More won over Brewsters Academy. Watanabe plays SF and PF for the team and is currently working on his shooting. What he lacks in upper body strength for now, he makes it up with his stamina and improved conditioning. That sprint speed is credited to his younger days of track and field.

    Lot more work to be done with Watanabe.
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    First double double of Yuta Watanabe: 18 points and 10 rebounds against Vanier College of Canada.
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    Yuta's younger brother, Taiga Watanabe (205 cm / 15yrs) leads Niigata into the 81st All High School Winter Cup.
    Last edited by CKR13; 12-22-2013 at 12:49 PM.
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    Yuta Watanabe has been consistent in his production on points, rebounds and increasing his assists average as he learns to play within the concept. He and Eric Paschall have been St. Thomas More's most productive players.
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    St. Thomas More vs. Hargrave Military #12 Dark jersey Yuta Watanabe

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    #13 guy is Taiga Watanabe. 6'9 and just 15 years old!!!
    Read more on my blog: Hoopnut! --> Hoop Nut Blog [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Watanabe visited George Washington's campus and watched the game of the Colonials victory against Rhode Island.
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    Yuta Watanabe had 17 points and 4 rebounds to help St. Thomas More over New Hampton 76-68. Watanabe's teammate Eric Paschall was the man though, 29 points and 11 rebounds.
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    Five players scoring in double figures as St. Thomas More routed Army Preparatory 91-76. Good overall game for Watanabe: 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

    According to the staff, Watanabe is drawing interest from mid D1 schools.
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    Watanabe on the clincher for the Coaches vs. Cancer Winter Classic Tournament: 10 points and 5 rebounds as St. Thomas More beat Bridgton Academy 83-74. It was all about Eric Paschall who put up a monstrous 37 points and 14 rebounds double double.
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    Watanabe with 12 points and 8 rebounds in the national prep invtl to help St. Thomas More. Next game is against GB Academy (Czech Republic) in February 2.
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    Final game update. I'm very intrigued that he's a point forward (given his growth spurts) and can shoot.


    Adam Finkelstein ‏@AdamFinkelstein 2h
    Watanabe decision apparently been pushed off until tomorrow per STM head coach Jere Quinn


    Corey Evans ‏@coreyevans_10 2h
    Yuta Watanabe is out here eating! Poster dunk on one possession with step back 3 on one a few minutes later. Love this kid
    !
    http://netscoutsbasketball.com/blog/...nal-final-day/

    NPSISun1-300x218.jpg

    10:30 – Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain) (61) vs St. Thomas More (CT) (70)


    6’7 Yuta Watanabe (Japan) scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds to help St. Thomas More to the win. Watanabe, a skilled lefty point forward will choose between Fordham and George Washington this week.
    Last edited by DarknessFalls; 02-03-2014 at 05:45 AM.

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    Thanks for the updates DarknessFalls. I read somewhere that Watanabe is really interested in enrolling at George Washington.
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    No problem, CKR13. Thank you for all the updates that you post in general here on Interbasket as well.

    Found some older pics and news of Yuta Watanabe 渡邊 雄太 that I thought I should share, so we can see the progression of this kid as he tries to make a name for himself.

    With the 2020 Olympics to be in Japan, depending on how well he develops, he may very well be the face of Japanese basketball.


    http://ulaanbaatar2012.fibaasia.net/...ls.aspx?id=241

    FIBA Asia: Did you find any new players who have the potential for the future for Japan?

    Hisao: All of the players that I have selected for this team have the potential for the future for our National team. Therefore, I hope that players would learn from this Championship and take their experience to the next category in order to have stronger National team.

    Yuta Watanabe is the top prospect in Japan, and definitely one of the best big players in Japan. But, from this Championship, he needs to develop more in various areas to play against big players in Asia as well as the World. For Japan, it is urgent to strengthen and develop big players to play equally against top teams.

    FIBA Asia: Have the youngsters in Japan team improved from the time they started training to now?

    Hisao: Yes. The players are still in learning stage, but they have shown tremendous development throughout this Championship. They might not be a very talented group, but they have learnt to play as a team, and they have shown development mentally. I am satisfied how they are performing but I still feel that they have more potential.

    FIBA Asia: How do you look at the future of Japan basketball?

    Hisao: In Japan, players start playing basketball at age of 6. However, talented athletes are playing baseball and football. Those two sport take most of the talented athletes. The main problem is that basketball team has not been successful in international Championships compared to those two sports. Our men’s national team needs to become a team that could be successful in international Championships. I feel that we have potential, but have not unfulfilled our strengths.

    FIBA Asia: What other things needs to be done?

    Hisao: As I have mentioned before, we need to develop big players. Currently, that is our weakness in every level compared to the powerhouse such as China, Korea, and West Asian countries.

















    Last edited by DarknessFalls; 02-04-2014 at 07:07 PM.

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    Yuta Watanabe's recent performance got him a mention in the New England Recruiting Report:

    http://www.newenglandrecruitingrepor...SI-Recap-2.php

    Calvin Crawford & Yuta Watanabe, STM –With only 7 healthy bodies in uniform, Crawford stepped up to provide consistent energy while also demonstrating his improving offensive tools with now consistent three-range range to match his long first step off the dribble. One day before choosing between Fordham and George Washington, Watanabe showed why he’ll be such a prize in the Atlantic 10, going for 20 points and 6 rebounds on Sunday morning while making deep jumpers and strong drives alike.
    Also it's now official, Yuta Watanabe has chosen to go to George Washington University.





    Jeff Goodman ‏@GoodmanESPN 3h
    George Washington picked up commitment from Yuta Watanabe -- 6-8 forward at St. Thomas More, per sources.

    Corey Evans ‏@coreyevans_10 2h
    Eccentric pickup for GW in Yuta Watanabe. Japanese forward was outstanding this past weekend and brings a plethora of abilities to the floor

    Colonial Army ‏@GWColonialArmy 1h
    Looks like we'll need a Japanese flag to hang in front of the student section to add to the others! Welcome Yuta Watanabe to @GW_MBB @#GWU!


    http://zagsblog.com/articles/gw-land...yuta-watanabe/

    George Washington head coach Mike Longeran on Tuesday landed a pledge from 6-foot-7 St. Thomas More forward Yuta Watanabe.

    The Japanese player also considered Fordham, St. Thomas More coach Jere Quinn told SNY.tv.

    “He has great skill, is long and is an excellent shooter,” Quinn said. “He has tremendous potential. He’s much better than everyone thinks.

    “It’s a real good get for them. It’s a great location for an international student. It was a tough decision for the kid. He really liked both schools.

    Watanabe is averaging 15 points and seven rebounds.

    “He is a three, maybe a two and can help with the four,” Quinn said. “He’s very, very skilled and athletic.”

    Watanabe is GW’s fourth pledge for 2014, joining Virginia small forward Anthony Swan, New Jersey shooting guard Paul Jorgensen and Washington, D.C. shooting guard Darian Bryant.
    Last edited by DarknessFalls; 02-04-2014 at 08:54 PM.

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    Once again, thanks for the updates DarknessFalls.

    Only the third Japanese player to play D1 ball.
    GW adds Japanese-born recruit for 2014 class
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    Another all-around game for Yuta vs South Kent:

    The PG Basketball team was out for revenge against South Kent after losing to them earlier in the season. The Chancellors took a 30 point lead at halftime and did not let up beating the Cardinals by 42 points. The offense was led by Eric Paschall who had 30 points and was among six who scored in double digits. Cane Broome and Francis Kiapway combined for 25 points. Calvin Crawford and Mike Wells each contributed offensively. Yuta Watanabe hit 3 three-pointers to add to his 17 points. Josh Williams provided valuable minutes and was just shy of a double-double. This win gave STM their 20th win of the season and they are now 6-1 in conference play.

    Yuta Watanabe: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
    Also some more recent articles in the past week regarding Yuta:

    http://netscoutsbasketball.com/blog/...nament-team-2/

    The final votes are in. Here is the 2014 National Prep School Invitational All-Tournament Team. Thanks to all the players, fans and coaches for making the 16th annual NPSI a big success!

    Yuta Watanabe, St. Thomas More (CT)
    The 6’7 point forward from Japan committed to George Washington this week. He averaged 13.3 points and 4.3 rebounds over three games.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2.../#.UvaaWfldX4r

    Japanese basketball phenom Yuta Watanabe will commit to George Washington University next season, he revealed on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

    “I’ve decided to go to George Washington University,” Watanabe tweeted. “The school has a good basketball team, too. I’m sure I’ll have hard times both in basketball and academics, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

    Watanabe reportedly received an offer from Fordham University as well. According to ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein, Watanabe was torn between George Washington and Fordham until recently.

    The 19-year-old has attended St. Thomas More School, a preparatory school in Oakdale, Connecticut, since last fall and has been a core player of its men’s basketball team.

    GWU is located in Washington, D.C., and its men’s basketball team belongs to the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Colonials have made the NCAA Tournament 10 times and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1993.

    George Washington has produced several NBA players. In addition, legendary former Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach graduated from the school.

    Watanabe, a native of Kagawa Prefecture, will become one of very few Japanese-born men to have played at an NCAA Division I school, following in the footsteps of Keijuro “K.J.” Matsui and Taishi Ito, both of whom played for Division I schools in the U.S., Columbia and Portland, respectively, before returning to Japan.

    According to Ben Standig of Comcast Sportsnet Washington, Watanabe will become the fifth international player on the Colonials’ 2014-15 roster.

    Watanabe, who was listed as 201 cm last year but is presumably taller now, gained recognition by guiding his Jinsei High School team to runnerup finishes in 2011 and 2012 in the All-Japan Tournament.

    He has also already played for the Japan national team.
    http://www.newenglandrecruitingrepor...h-Watanabe.php

    George Washington picked up a critical 2014 commitment on Tuesday afternoon from St. Thomas More forward Yuta Watanabe.

    Watanabe had trimmed his list to just GW and Fordham and was set to make a decision earlier this weekend before ultimately delaying the announcement until Tuesday morning.

    The six-foot-seven forward is in just his first season stateside since arriving from his home country of Japan, and has already made rapid strides while adjusting to the speed and physicality of the American game far quicker than most international prospects.

    He’ll provide GW with just the frontcourt weapon they were looking for after coming out of November’s early signing period with Letters of Intent from a trio of perimeter players in six-foot-three point guard Paul Jorgensen, six-foot-five swingman Anthony Swan, and six-foot-three swingman Darian Bryant.


    Watanabe is very long and deceptively athletic with the skill set to shoot it well from behind the three-point line, put the ball on the floor, score over top of smaller defenders in the mid-range area, and even make some tough finishes around the rim.

    While Watanabe is expected to make an immediate contribution, GW head coach Mike Lonergan might not be done yet as the Colonials have also pursued Worcester Academy big man Matt Cimino with what is expected to be their final scholarship of the 2014 class.

    Despite a potential five man incoming class, George Washington should be primed to remain a contender in the Atlantic 10 as they are expected to return four starters from a team that is currently 17-4 overall including 5-2 in conference.

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    Short video interview and game footage:



    http://coxsportsonline.com/2014/02/p...uta-watanabe/?


    Player Profile: Yuta Watanabe
    The six-foot-seven forward arrived at St. Thomas More from his native Japan this fall and made an immediate splash with college coaches. A southpaw perimeter forward with a well developed skill set and deceptive athleticism, Watanabe has demonstrate a quick learning curve when it comes to adjusting to the speed and physicality of the American game and has seen his recruitment blossom as a result. He was being followed by an increasing number of high-major programs as the season progressed, until ultimately committing to Mike Lonergan and George Washington last week.

    Update on most recent games:

    2 games vs Northfield Mount Hermon

    Yuta Watanabe: 22 points, 2 assists, 5 rebounds

    Yuta Watanabe: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist

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    Good read:

    Encouragement, advice helped steer Watanabe to GWU

    The recent decision by promising basketball prospect Yuta Watanabe to attend George Washington University next season came as bright news for his home country.

    And as much as Watanabe has rare talent, the 19-year-old out of Kagawa Prefecture has received valuable support from people around him as he tried to become a better player and eventually reach the furthest point he can.

    Donald Beck, the head coach for the NBL’s Toyota Alvark, was one of the people who gave Watanabe some advice as he considered crossing the Pacific Ocean to attend preparatory school in the United States last year.

    “The Watanabe family approached us and Tom Wisman, who was the national coach at that time,” said Beck, who’d coached at U.S. colleges and in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands before he signed with the Alvark in 2010. “And they were very clear that Yuta wants to go to America and the parents wanted him to go to America.”

    Beck then Beck presented the Watanabes with a few options in New England, where he used to coach, including prominent prep schools. And they wound up selecting St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Connecticut. Watanabe has attended the school since September.

    “So that’s all that happened. They contacted us and we did everything we could to help him fulfill his dream,” Beck said.

    Now as Watanabe, a 203-cm forward, will become the third Japanese-born player to be on a NCAA Division I team later this year (and he’ll likely become the first Japanese to get a scholarship as well), he’s expected to face harder competition and challenges.

    Keijuro “K.J.” Matsui, the first Japanese player to compete for an NCAA D-I school, said that it was a good choice for Watanabe to select George Washington, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

    But Matsui, a former Columbia University guard who now plays for Toyota, insisted that Watanabe would need to quickly adjust to whatever his head coach wants him to do, taking advantage of his signature plays in his new surroundings.

    “There’s no guarantees that he’ll get a starting position as a freshman,” Matsui said.

    Matsui said that the D-I college level is much higher than the prep school ranks and Watanabe would need to be ready for that.

    “The physicality in college basketball is completely different. It’s much stronger,” Matsui said. “Defense is much different as well, and their scouting is much more thorough, so you can’t take shots as much as you would like to.”

    For Matsui, it wasn’t as easy a decision to pick which college he would go to, as it may have been for Watanabe, who was reportedly torn between GW and Fordham until the last minute.

    Coming out of Montrose Christian High School in Maryland (Oklahoma City Thunders star Kevin Durant went there too), Matsui had a chance to attend even more notable basketball schools, such as Davidson, Princeton, and even Michigan and North Carolina, for his sharp shooting skills.

    Yet Matsui opted to attend Columbia, an Ivy League school in New York.

    “I would be the first Japanese to play in Division I and I knew people would pay attention to how much I could do in it,” the 28-year-old said, recalling the experience. “Then, if I’d gone to a competitive team and couldn’t do anything there, I would’ve given an impression the Japanese players couldn’t do it there.

    “That wouldn’t give other guys after me better chances. So I thought it would be better for me to be able to play for an entire year.”

    Matsui congratulated Watanabe for being given the opportunity to play for a competitive college team like GW, but just making the roster should not be his goal.

    “It’s good for Nabe-chan (Watanabe) to play at a competitive team, but he’s going to have to battle for playing time.”

    Beck thinks that Watanabe will have success in his collegiate career and eventually has a chance to achieve his goal — to play in the NBA.

    Well, the NBA talk may be a little too early for the teenager, but he had a successful prep career and was recently named to the National Prep School Invitational all-tournament team.

    “To be quite honest with you, there is a great amount of young Japanese talent in Japan,” Beck said. “I think that talent is there. And I think the more exposure they get to other styles of play (and) other styles of coaching, the better they are going to be.”
    -Japan Times
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