Rui Hachimura

International Notes: Hachimura, Delaney, Whitehead

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura won’t play in the final two games of the 2019 World Cup for Team Japan, according to a statement issued by the Wizards and Japan Basketball. After going 0-3 in round-one play, Japan has been eliminated from medal contention, but will continue playing in the classification round. They’ll do so without Hachimura, however.

“Rui experienced knee discomfort and general fatigue during the World Cup, which we have jointly monitored with the Wizards,” Japan Basketball said in a statement. “While everyone had hoped for Rui to finish the World Cup with Team Japan, the Wizards and Japan Basketball believe it is best for Rui to not play the final two games and have a short period of rest before he must start NBA training camp with the Wizards which begins only three weeks from now.”

Despite Japan’s lack of success in the 2019 World Cup, they’ve already secured a berth in the 2020 Olympics as the host nation. Hachimura is expected to suit up again for his home country in Tokyo next summer following his rookie season with the Wizards.

Here are a few more international basketball notes from around the globe:

  • Veteran guard Malcolm Delaney, who spent two seasons with the Hawks from 2016-18, is in negotiations with Barcelona, sources tell Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops (Twitter link). While a deal isn’t done yet, it sounds like Delaney will continue his career in Spain unless he gets an NBA offer.
  • Former Nets point guard Isaiah Whitehead, a second-round pick in 2016, is working out with China’s Jiangsu Dragons, according to Chinese basketball journalist Zhang Duo (Twitter link). Whitehead spent the second half of 2018/19 on a two-way deal with the Pistons, but didn’t appear in a game for Detroit.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer takes a look at some of the World Cup subplots that don’t involve Team USA, including the dominance of the Serbians, who have won their four games so far by an average margin of nearly 41 points per contest.
  • Former NBA forward Malcolm Thomas, who suited up for five teams from 2012-15, has signed with the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association after spending the last two seasons in Russia, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

World Cup Notes: Team USA, Mitchell, Bogut, Hachimura

Balanced scoring helped Team USA pull away from the Czech Republic in today’s FIBA World Cup opener, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Celtics teammates Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum combined for 20 points in the first half to help the Americans build a lead. Donovan Mitchell and Harrison Barnes took over in the second half of the 88-67 victory.

Coach Gregg Popovich is emphasizing defensive energy from his team, which is seeking a third straight World Cup title. He plans to rotate players to keep them fresh, as 10 saw playing time in the first quarter today. Team USA gets a tougher test on Tuesday, facing a Turkish team with NBA players Cedi OsmanErsan Ilyasova and Furkan Korkmaz.

There’s more World Cup news this morning:

  • Popovich has chosen Mitchell, one of his youngest players at age 22, to be among the team leaders, Windhorst relays in a separate story. The World Cup experience could be a huge step for Mitchell, who has already gotten noticed for his leadership abilities with the Jazz. “He has a propensity for leadership and that’s how I spent my time with him,” Popovich said. “I’m not going to teach him how to shoot better or jump better or dribble better. But he has the intelligence and the willingness to become a leader and I think that’d be great. Not just for our team but for his team.”
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN examines the talent on Team USA and projects 56.4 wins if it were an actual NBA team. That number, which would be the best in the league for the upcoming season, includes projections of 3.2 points per 100 possessions better than the league average on offense and 3.1 points per 100 possessions better on defense. He adds that even though the team may not be as strong as previous American squads, it still contains plenty of talent.
  • Australia’s victory over the U.S. in an exhibition game last week reflects the progress that the Boomers have made and the way they look at the American team, Andrew Bogut tells Marc Stein of The New York Times. “That mind-set has changed,” Bogut said. “When I first joined the national team, we never really had that true belief of beating the U.S.A. Whereas now we genuinely think, if we play it the right way, we have a chance to beat them.”
  • New Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is in China to cheer on Rui Hachimura, according to Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington. Washington selected Hachimura, who plays for Japan, with the ninth pick in this year’s draft.

World Cup Notes: Japan, Montenegro, Top Players

Several more national basketball teams have announced their 12-man rosters for the 2019 World Cup in China, including Team Japan, which will be led by a pair of NBA players, per a FIBA announcement.

Former Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura, who was selected ninth overall by the Wizards in this year’s draft, is the headliner. He’ll be joined by Grizzlies swingman Yuta Watanabe, who is on a two-way contract in Memphis.

The Montenegro national team, meanwhile, is light on NBA players, but does include one notable nameMagic center Nikola Vucevic, who earned his first All-Star nod in 2018/19, will represent Montenegro as the program attempts to make its way out a tough first-round group that features Brazil, New Zealand, and Greece.

Here’s more on the World Cup, including a couple more roster announcements:

Wizards Sign First-Rounder Hachimura

The Wizards have signed their first-round pick, forward Rui Hachimura, the team’s PR department tweets.

The ninth overall pick in the draft can max out at $4.469MM in his first season under the rookie scale stipulations. He can make $4.693MM in his second season and $4.916MM in his third year.

The West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Hachimura averaged 19.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.5 APG for Gonzaga in his junior season while shooting 59.1% from the field.

Wizards Notes: Hachimura, Schofield, Simmons

Washington concluded a three-day minicamp today in which several notable players participated in full-court scrimmages and drills. No. 9 overall pick Rui Hachimura and No. 42 overall pick Admiral Schofield were among the prospects participating in drills for the Wizards. Schofield believes the two rookies can play well together, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members in attendance.

“I can play multiple positions. So can [Hachimura],” Schofield said. “He can play the wing and the forward. That’s going to make us pretty lethal. We just have to get used to the [NBA level] and how things are done here, understanding from the vets how to pace ourselves and how to play the game the right way.”

Schofield, whose rights were traded to the Wizards in the Jonathon Simmons deal on draft night, initially thought he was going to Philadelphia. The 22-year-old said he actually found out about his draft spot through Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter, as I recently passed along.

“[My agent] told me I was going to get picked…but I saw the tweet before my agent called, which was pretty cool. Woj is elite,” Schofield said.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • The Wizards and Jonathon Simmons have agreed to move back the guarantee deadline on his deal from July 1 to July 8, sources confirm. Fred Katz of The Athletic was the first to report the news.
  • While no definite decision has been made, last year’s second-round pick Issuf Sanon is likely to spend another season abroad, a source tells Hoops Rumors. The organization is impressed by the progress Sanon is making. “He came back lighter,” assistant coach Robert Pack said during a session with the media. “He’s playing with a little more confidence.”
  • Hachimura said undrafted free agent Justin Robinson has helped him adjust to living in Washington D.C., as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members in attendance. “He’s from [the area],” Hachimura said. “Justin’s great…we talk a lot.” Robinson, who has been referred to by the team as the 61st pick in the draft, is expected to play for the team’s G League, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post recently wrote.

Southeast Notes: Hachimura, Petrucelli, McDaniels, Wizards

Regardless of how well Wizards newly-drafted rookie forward Rui Hachimura performs in the NBA moving forward, he’s already a superstar in his home country of Japan, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Hachimura, the first ever Japanese-born lottery pick in the NBA, has a rabid following that was on display Friday when the 21-year-old Gonzaga product was introduced by the Wizards. Per Hughes, there were over 40 members of the Japanese media in attendance from over 20 outlets, all excited for the opportunity to be a part of Hachimura’s press conference.

“I’m used to it. This is kind of small,” Hachimura joked about the media attention at the Wizards’ press conference. “When I was in Japan, there were couple of press conferences like this and there were more people.”

Because of his unique situation, Hachimura has the chance to be the most marketable player on the Wizards as a rookie, John Wall and Bradley Beal included. He already has endorsement deals with Air Jordan and Nissin Food Products, and one Japanese reporter even went as far as opining that Hachimura could be as big as MLB star Ichiro Suzuki one day. The Wizards certainly hope so.

There’s more from the Southeast Division this afternoon:

  • JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors is reporting that free agent sharpshooter John Petrucelli has committed to play summer league with the Magic. Petrucelli, 26, signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Magic in October, before being waived two days later.
  • In some negative news coming out of Charlotte, Brendan Marks and Michael Gordon of The Charlotte Observer are reporting that Hornets second-round draft pick Jalen McDaniels was sued by two female high school classmates around six months ago. Criminal charges were not pursued, but the duo claim in a civil suit that McDaniels recorded them performing sexual acts without their consent.
  • Columnist Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post opines that the Wizards will likely end up promoting from within and hire interim head of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard as Ernie Grunfeld‘s replacement.

Draft Updates: Green Room, Culver, Samanic, More

The NBA continues to invite potential first-round picks to the Green Room for next Thursday’s draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that Nassir Little (UNC), Romeo Langford (Indiana), and Tyler Herro (Kentucky) were the next invitees after the initial nine-player group.

According to Givony (Twitter links), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), PJ Washington (Kentucky) also received Green Room invites, as did international prospect Sekou Doumbouya. That brings us to 16 prospects who are expected to be in the Green Room on draft night, with four others still expected to be invited, per Givony.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Within his latest mock draft, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cites league sources who say that both the Suns and Hawks are high on Texas Tech swingman Jarrett Culver. However, it’s possible that neither team will have a shot at him without trading up — Woo has Culver coming off the board at No. 5 to the Cavaliers in his mock.
  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic has a busy workout schedule, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), who adds the Warriors and Spurs to the list of teams Samanic has auditioned for. He also has workouts lined up with the Hawks and Bucks.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has worked out for the Celtics, Pelicans, Knicks, and Raptors, and still has the Mavericks, Rockets, and Hornets on his workout schedule, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
  • Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter links) provides a pair of updates on pre-draft workouts for prospects, reporting that Chris Silva (South Carolina) is working out for the Heat and Spurs, while Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s) worked out for the Cavaliers and Mavericks and has the Sixers and Rockets on tap.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura Declares For Draft

Gonzaga’s junior power forward Rui Hachimura has entered his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool, he announced on Monday. According to a press release from the program, Hachimura will hire an agent and pursue a professional career.

“The last three years at Gonzaga have been a dream come true, and now I’d like to pursue my next dream of playing in the NBA,” Hachimura said in a statement. “This was a significant decision for my family and myself. I just want to thank everyone at Gonzaga, especially the coaching staff and all of my teammates who went to battle with me and are my brothers for life.”

The West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Hachimura took a huge step forward in his junior year for the Zags, averaging 19.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.5 APG while shooting 59.1% from the field.

Hachimura is ranked 18th on ESPN’s big board, though Jeff Goodman of Stadium notes (via Twitter) that many NBA executives believe he’ll be drafted in the 8-to-15 range. Wherever he comes off the board, the 21-year-old is set to become the first Japanese player ever selected in the NBA draft.

As Mike Schmitz details in ESPN’s scouting report, Hachimura projects as a versatile frontcourt defender and has a promising shooting touch, though he’s much stronger from mid-range than from beyond the arc. The 6’9″ forward has an “intriguing physical profile” for a modern power forward, Schmitz writes.