Japan’s Star Player Snubs National Team for NBA
Tokyo. Former Phoenix Suns guard Yuta Tabuse is leaving the Japanese national men’s basketball team for another shot at the NBA.
Tabuse had been training with Japan’s national team but decided to leave the squad and head to the United States after receiving an invitation to attend the Dallas Mavericks’ summer camp next month.
“I got the news all of a sudden and am happy I was able to get another opportunity,” Tabuse said at a press conference on Saturday. “I have nothing to lose. I want to face it with confidence. I have no worries at all. I feel it is the time to fight again.”
Tabuse played briefly for the Phoenix Suns in the 2004-05 season and is the only Japanese player to make it to the NBA. The 1.73-meter point guard joined the Suns’ training camp in 2004 and made the opening-night roster. He scored seven points in his first NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks but was waived by the Suns on Dec. 16, 2004, after playing four times for the club.
Tabuse had been training with Japan ahead of the inaugural East Asian championships, set to be held in Komaki, Japan, in June. Instead, he will report to Dallas for the Mavericks’ pre-summer mini-camp on June 11 and 12.
The mini-camp is an opportunity for aspiring players to compete for spots in NBA’s summer league in July, another tryout before the clubs announce their final 12-man rosters in November.
“I may have to overcome a few things in physical and other aspects but I believe my speed will be alright,” he said, citing the need to work on one-on-one match-ups and shooting skills.
Tabuse, Japan’s most recognizable player who is currently with Tochigi Brex in the Japan Basketball League, also spent time with the American Basketball Association’s Long Beach Jam and two NBA Developmental League clubs.