The Dallas Mavericks may be taking a page out of the San Antonio Spurs book and are looking internationally to fill their roster. Reports out of both Dallas and The Japan Times have said that Basketball Japan League, or BJ-League, star guard Yuki Togashi is headed to Dallas to work out for the Mavericks.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Mavs have reached out to the Far East to acquire some talent. Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian were team’s first two projects joining the Mavs in 2000 and 2012 respectively. Both were also seven foot jump-shooters and likewise, both had careers that were mere blips on the radar. Togashi would become the second Japanese born player to ever play in the NBA, behind former Pheonix Suns guard Yuta Tabese.
Togashi is a bit of a different breed than Zhizhi and Jianlin. The most noticeable difference between he and his Asian counterparts is his height. Togashi is only 5’6″. Obviously the NBA is a tall man’s game, but to put this into perspective, only 24 players have been listed as shorter than 5’9″. On top of that, only three have been shorter than Togashi: Muggsy Bogues, Earl Boykins, and Mel Hirsch. If Togashi is able to break in here in the states, it will be a noteworthy achievement.
Despite his origins, Togashi does have experience playing in the United States. He played his senior year of high school at Monrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland, who boasts notable alum Kevin Durant. After high school, Togashi has succeeded in the BJ-League15.4 points, and 7.9 assists per game. He was also named the Eastern Conference’s All-Star Game MVP after recording 23 points and five assists in the game. After the 2014 season Togashi was named to the leagues Best Five Team, the youngest player to earn the honor. He is also a member of Japan’s national team provisional roster.
If Togashi is to ever make the Mavs roster, his impact may not be seen for some time. He is projected to spend time on their Summer League team. His leading competition will be 6’4″ Aussie guard Chris Goulding. If Togashi makes it past summer, you’ll probably be able to check him out in Frisco playing for Dallas’s D-League team, the Texas Legends, but if you do see him playing in the AAC, something has either gone horribly right or horribly wrong at the guard position.
Summer League kicks of Friday, July 11th at 1:00 PM against the New York Knicks.