B League 2023-24 Season: A Look at the Opening Matches and Players to Watch

Next, we’ll liven it up.

The start of the 2023-24 B League season is approaching on October 5th, and a tip-off conference was held on September 25th.

Chairman Shinji Shimada took the microphone first.

“The 8th season of the B.League is finally starting.This summer, the Japanese men’s national team won three games at the World Cup, and were able to secure a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.Thanks to the performance of the Japanese men’s national team, , I think the passion for basketball is increasing all over Japan.We want to keep this passion alive and lead to the start of the B League.”

Next, the theme for the 23rd-24th season was announced.

That’s “IT’S OUR TURN!” ”.

Chairman Shimada said, “I feel like this is the only option.The Japan men’s national team has played a great role so far, and the B League is about to start, so I wanted to convey the idea that “it’s our turn next!” There are a lot of great players in the B League who don’t take any chances with the national team.I want people to pay attention to such players.”

Now comes the players. One player from all 24 B1 teams took the stage to represent them. Atsushi Soejima, a talent who knows a lot about basketball, and Takuya Kawamura, who has been active as a player since before the B League began, will be the MCs and will listen to the characteristics of each team for each opening card. The players prepared flips highlighting the highlights of their clubs.

The first round of this season will be held from October 5th to 9th, with one game scheduled for the 5th as a “first-out start.” The first team of the new season will be the Ryukyu Golden Kings and Saga Ballooners. Last season’s B1 and B2 champions will clash at the SAGA Arena, which was demolished in May of this year.

Saga Ballooners vs. Ryukyu Golden Kings (October 5th, SAGA Arena)

Taiki Tsunoda (left, Saga) and Shuntoshi Maki (Ryukyu) talk about their aspirations

Ryukyu’s Shuntoshi Maki quietly burns with his fighting spirit. This season, as the B1 champions, they will embody the Ryukyu style of play in which people and the ball move, with the slogan “ball movement,” as they strive for consecutive championships.

“As basketball is attracting more and more attention, it is a great honor to be able to open the B League first out.I am really looking forward to being able to play basketball at the wonderful facility called SAGA Arena.As a team, we are excited to be playing basketball again. I want to build on this and win the championship.”

Saga’s Taiki Tsunoda, who will be competing in B1 for the first time, cites “cooperation” as a characteristic of the team. He said, “I want to see fluid play,” expressing his desire to be on the opening card.

“As we will be playing in the opening game of the B League, the Japanese men’s national team excited the basketball world at the recent World Cup, so we want to bring out even more of that momentum.We will work with Ryukyu to make it even more exciting. I will do my best.”

This high-profile match pitting a promoted club against the B1 champions will accelerate this season’s B League.

Nagasaki Veruca vs. Chiba Jets (October 8, Nagasaki Prefectural Gymnasium)

From left: Masaya Kanamata (Nagasaki), Yuki Togashi (Chiba Junior High)

Chiba J, who recorded a new regular season record of 53 wins in B1 last season, lost to Ryukyu in the championship final. At the forefront of the team heading for its second B1 title is Yuki Togashi, who played well in the World Cup as a member of the Japanese national team.

The team’s focus is expressed in the three letters “RUN”. “We will be a small team, so I hope everyone can run well and make up for it,” he explains.

Furthermore, he says in a calm tone, “I think it will be an even more challenging season than last year due to the changes in several players.I want to improve one game at a time.” Japan’s leading point guard will probably stand on the court with his eyes set on the top.

Challenging Chiba J is Nagasaki, who was promoted from B2. Masaya Kanimata, who won the 3-point title in last season’s B2 regular season, once again emphasized the club’s philosophy.

“Since the formation of Nagasaki Veruca, we have adopted the words HARD, AGGRESSIVE, SPEEDY, INNOVATIVE, and TOGETHER as words to express the team’s basketball and Veruca characteristics, and our philosophy is “HAS IT!”, which is the acronym of these words. I believe that when we are able to express this properly, our individuality will come out.”

Chiba J lost the championship and Nagasaki lost the B2 playoff final. Who will take advantage of last season’s disappointment in the opening round and seize victory? Attention will also be focused on Yuta Baba, a member of Japan’s World Cup men’s national team, who was announced to join Nagasaki after this conference.

Kyoto Hannaries vs. Yokohama Bee Corsairs (October 7, Kyoto City Gymnasium)

Yuki Kawamura (Yokohama BC), who played an active role in the previous World Cup

From the Yokohama Bee Corsairs, who advanced to the club’s first championship in B1 last season and made it to the top four, Yuki Kawamura, who excited the crowd at the World Cup, appeared. The 22-year-old playmaker, who wears the number 5 on his back, cited “persistence” as a key point for the team.

“I hope that we can play tenaciously throughout the game by showing tenacious defense, and even when we are at a disadvantage, each player can fulfill their role.”

Last season, they made it to the top four not only in the championship, but also in the Emperor’s Cup. Kawamura set his goal as “a better result than last season,” and said emphatically, “If we finish in the top four or above, we have no choice but to win, so I want to aim for it.”

He is a leading force not only for Yokohama BC, to which he belongs, but also for the entire B League. High expectations are placed on Kawamura in order to continue the excitement sparked by the World Cup.

“I think this World Cup brought the sport of basketball to a lot of people. I hope I can express the charm of the B League and the charm of basketball through my play.”

Kyoto Hannary’s will play against Yokohama BC. Satoru Maeda, who won the Rookie of the Year award in the 19-20 season while playing for the Toyama Grouses, cited “youth and energy” as the team’s key points.

“The lineup has changed significantly, and I think we have one of the youngest members in the league. We want to take advantage of our youth and play with energy.”

Last season, they faced each other twice during the regular season, with a record of 1 win and 1 loss. Both were cross games. Their overall record is 6 wins and 6 losses. It is likely to be a card that will attract a lot of attention, as it will predict the future of both teams this season.

Nagoya Diamond Dolphins vs. Sunrockers Shibuya (October 7, Dolphins Arena)

From left: Yutaro Suda (Nagoya D), Reio Bendorame (SR Shibuya)

SR Shibuya, which placed 4th in the middle district last season, was a hot topic during the off-season transfer market. Luka Pavicevic, who has extensive experience both domestically and internationally, and who led Alvark Tokyo to two championships, was appointed as the head coach. Additionally, six new players have joined the team, including Josh Hawkinson, a naturalized player who played in the previous World Cup, and Daiki Tanaka, a member of Japan’s men’s national team at the Tokyo Olympics. Reio Bendlame, who is a member of SR Shibuya and has been with the team for nine years, focused on the “roster.”

“If you look at the lineup, you’ll see that Josh Hawkinson is there, James Michael McAdoo is there, and Ryan Kelly is his backup. Daiki Tanaka is there, and Aki is his backup. Chambers will appear.I personally think that the list of names on the roster is strong.”

On the other hand, Nagoya D’s Yutaro Suda points out “upgrading” as a point of focus. Japan’s best 3-point shooter seems to be finding his footing in the team, which has advanced to the championship for two consecutive seasons under coach Sean Dennis.

“The current team structure is in its third season, so while we have the same players from the past two seasons, we’ve also added new players, and we’re going to attack with a more aggressive defense than before, and from there we’ll be able to move faster. He plays open-ended basketball. I think he’s improved from the past two seasons.”

They played against each other twice in the regular season last season, with Nagoya D winning both times. In total, SR Shibuya leads with 8 wins and 6 losses. It is interesting to see that SR Shibuya, which has been powered up with major reinforcements, will be faced by the upgraded Nagoya in their home arena.

Utsunomiya Brex vs. Gunma Crane Thunders (October 7, Nikkan Arena Tochigi Main Arena)

42-year-old legend Yuta Tabuse (left, Utsunomiya) emphasized the importance of “heat”.

Utsunomiya Brex, who have won the championship twice, will be hoping to replace Shigeto Makido from last season, when they finished 9th overall and missed out on the championship. Yuta Tabuse, a 42-year-old legend in the Japanese basketball world, says, “All the teams are strong, so I want everyone to play the game with the spirit of challengers.” In addition, he cited “heat” as a key point of this season.

“We, the players, as well as the coaching staff, team staff, and front office staff, want to fight hard and passionately at all times.We want the fans to fight with us this season with great enthusiasm.”

Utsunomiya, who also has Shin Hiejima, who was active in the World Cup, will face the Gunma Crane Thunders, also from the East region. Naoto Tsuji, who is in his first year with the team, talks about the highlights of the team entering its third season in B1.

It’s unity. As Mr. Tabuse of Utsunomiya said, we too will unite and fight.”

The overall record for this card is Utsunomiya’s 5 wins and 3 losses. Last season, Utsunomiya finished with 3 wins and 1 loss. Will Utsunomiya maintain the upper hand? Will Gunma make a comeback? Stay tuned for tip-off on October 7th.

Other opening cards are as follows.

Levanga Hokkaido vs. Akita Northern Happinets (October 7th, Hokkai Kitael)

Sendai 89ERS vs. Alvark Tokyo (October 7, Xebio Arena Sendai)

Kawasaki Brave Thunders vs. Sanen Neo Phoenix (October 7th, Kawasaki City Todoroki Arena)

Shinshu Brave Warriors vs. Ibaraki Robots (October 7, White Ring)

Fighting Eagles Nagoya vs. Hiroshima Dragonflies (October 7, Nagoya City Biwajima Sports Center)

Osaka Evessa vs. Toyama Grouses (October 7th, Ookini Arena Maishima)

Shimane Susanoo Magic vs. Seahorse Mikawa (October 7, Matsue City General Gymnasium)

In order to bring the excitement of the World Cup to the B League and create an even bigger buzz that will lead to next summer’s Paris Olympics. Fierce battles are being held in arenas all over the country.

2023-10-04 01:19:54
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