- first round
- 米プロバスケットボール協会（後出 FIBA は国際バスケットボール連盟）
- as the ... pick
- player of the year
- regular-season game
- interim general manager
- 選手権大会（後出 championship は優勝、tournamentは 大会、playoff は優勝決定戦）
- focal point
- shoulder a load
- bode well for ～
- Republic of Benin
- ～ native
- points title
- Elite Eight
Hachimura Rui became the first player from Japan to be chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken as the No. 9 overall pick by the Washington Wizards on June 20.
The 2.03-meter, 104-kilogram forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at Gonzaga University, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year. "It means a lot for me, for my family," Hachimura said. "For Japan basketball, all my country, it's a big thing."
The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Okayama Yasutaka in 1981. Just two players from the country have appeared in a regular-season game: Tabuse Yuta in 2004-05, and Watanabe Yuta in 2018-19.
In explaining why he wanted Hachimura, who will wear No. 8 for the team, Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard mentioned the 21-year-old's play for Japan's national team.
"For Japan to qualify for the world championships, he's the focal point. And when the (Tokyo) Olympics come in 2020, he's going to be the focal point of that country," Sheppard said. "To be able to shoulder that load at his age — the maturity he has — I think that's going to bode well for him in the NBA."
The son of a Japanese mother and a father from the Republic of Benin, the Toyama native had never played basketball before meeting his junior high school coach Sakamoto Joji at age 13.
"He pointed at me and said: 'You're going to the NBA,'" said Hachimura. "At that time, I was stupid, I believed him. ... And I'm really here now. It's crazy."
Hachimura first attracted attention in 2014, when he won the points title at the FIBA under-17 Basketball World Cup as a member of Team Japan. He entered Gonzaga, which reached the "Elite Eight" in the 2019 NCAA men's college basketball tournament.
Soon after being drafted, Hachimura told about his goals in the NBA, "First of all, I want to play in the playoffs. Of course, I want to help the team. I want a championship."
(Compiled from AP and Mainichi reports)
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