Rui Hachimura Becomes the First Japanese Player Selected in Round 1 of the NBA Draft

Rui Hachimura became the second Japanese-born player to be drafted into the NBA following his selection by the Washington Wizards.

Hachimura, who is half-Black, half-Japanese, was the No. 9 pick during the 2019 NBA draft on Thursday.

Basketball legend Yasutaka Okayama was the first Japanese to be drafted back in 1981 by the Golden State Warriors, but he did not get signed. 

 

Hachimura, who is set to join All-Star players John Wall and Bradley Beal next season, also holds the record for being the first Japanese player ever to be chosen in the first round, according to Sports Illustrated

Born to a Japanese mother and Beninese father (from the West African nation of Benin), the 6-foot-8-inch forward, grew up in Toyama, Japan. The 21-year-old athlete wore a suit that paid tribute to both cultures during draft night. 

 

Hachimura played three seasons for Gonzaga University, becoming a full-time starter in his final year.

As a Gonzaga Bulldog, he started in all 37 games during his junior year, averaging a team-high of 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game on 59.1% field goal shooting. 

 

His stellar performance on the team earned him the West Coast Conference Player of the Year award, the Naismith Award finalist title and inclusion into the First-Team All-American. 

 

Featured Image via Instagram / rui_8mura

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