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Basketball: Hovasse replaces Lamas as Japan men's team head coach

Tom Hovasse (Photo courtesy of the Japan Basketball Association/Kyodo)
Julio Lamas (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Argentine Julio Lamas revealed on Twitter Tuesday that he has left his position as head coach of the Japan men's basketball team, with Tom Hovasse soon after named as his replacement by the Japan Basketball Association.

    The JBA confirmed hours after Lamas' tweet that his contract has expired and said the American, fresh off leading the Japan women's team to a history-making silver medal at the recent Tokyo Olympics, will take his place.

    Hovasse became the first foreign-born head coach of Japan's national women's team in 2017 after serving as an assistant coach for the women's team during the Rio Olympics in 2016.

    The 54-year-old played with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks during the 1994-1995 season.

    Toru Onzuka was promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the women's team.

    Japan's men's team finished 11th with the 57-year-old Lamas at the helm in their first participation in the Olympic men's basketball tournament since 1976.

    Japan was the lowest-ranked squad from the FIBA men's rankings among the 12 teams participating and qualified as host.

    "After four years as the head coach of the Japanese national team, this journey has come to an end," Lamas tweeted.

    "It has been a wonderful experience for me, I would like to offer my gratitude to the players, coaching staff, and all JBA members and wish them all the best in the future. Arigato!"

    Lamas, who coached Argentina to a fourth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics, was appointed Japan head coach in 2017.

    In 2019, he guided Japan to its first World Cup appearance in 13 years with the help of the ninth pick in that year's NBA draft, Rui Hachimura, and Yuta Watanabe, who was at the time trying to establish himself in the NBA.

    The team finished the 2019 FIBA World Cup with a 0-5 record and then went winless in three games at the Olympics.

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