Rui Hachimura scored 35 points for Japan 99-89 victory over New Zealand. The game was organized as a warm-up before the FIBA World Cup.
Hachimura made history by becoming the first player from Japan to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft. He was No.9 overall pick by Washington Wizard in June.
After Monday’s game, Rui said that he had an excellent start to lead the team. He added that he is happy being back in Japan.
The 21 years old scored 21 points in the first half and 14 points in the second half. Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was impressed by the feat. He said that even if the NBA is tough, Hachimura has got a great body that is needed in the NBA to get physical.
He also projected him of moving his game to the 3-point line. Casey is in Japan for a coaching clinic.
The former Gonzaga University star played in the NBA’s Summer League for the Wizards but now will take up national duties for Japan at the World Cup.
Memphis Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe missed the game due to an ankle injury.
Japan will start its World Cup debut against Turkey on 1st September in Shanghai. The next games will follow against the Czech Republic and the US.