NCAA: The Rising Star of Rui Hachimura

Rui HachimuraOne of the players to watch in the NCAA this season is Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura (203 cm). He is a Japanese player who raised some eyebrows at the Asian FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. The 20-year-old sophomore powered the Japanese squad to a 79-78 stunning upset over Australia.

He scored 24 and seven rebounds and teamed up Nicholas Ryan Fazekas who dropped an impressive 25-point, 12-rebound double-double performance.

“That was tough, very tough, but we did it!” he exclaimed after their big victories. “I am so happy that we won those last two games and that we clinched a spot for the next round. We were close to getting eliminated, but we turned things around and are satisfied with the way we played. We did everything to get those wins and go to the next round. It was very good to see the guys happy and relieved, but now it’s time to start focusing and working towards that next step.”

Japan lost to Australia 58-82 in a previous encounter but Hachimura did not play in that game. The difference he makes when he’s on the court is undeniable.

He originally declared for the 2018 NBA Draft but instead opted to stay in school for another year. He will be a key piece for Gonzaga’s 2018-19 season in the NCAA. While some experts believe that Hachimura would have been better served had he stayed in the draft, Hachimura is still currently projected as a top-10 draft pick in the 2019 draft.

He has a solid mid-range game, but did not make nor take many shots from downtown. What Hachimura does have in spades is scary athleticism and the ability to finish strong at the hoop. He will be a major force Gonzaga this coming 2018-19 season and should be on the watch list of a lot of NBA scouts.

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