Colonials to Play in Annual Kenner League at Georgetown's McDonough Arena
Get to Know 2014-15 GW Men's Basketball Freshman Yuta Watanabe
Labeled "the Chosen One" by The Japan Times, Watanabe (you-tuh wah-tuh-nah-bay) is set to become the third Japanese-born student-athlete in NCAA Division I men's basketball history (K.J. Matsui - Columbia, Taishi Ito - Portland) when he takes the court in 2014-15.. In his lone scholastic season in the United States in 2013-14, Watanabe averaged 13 points and six rebounds in helping St. Thomas More School (Conn.) to a 26-8 overall record and an appearance in the National Prep Championship game, during which he scored a team-high 25 points. His ever-improving play throughout the season helped him earn NEPSAC Class AAA First Team All-League accolades and he was also named to the National Prep School Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Before coming to the U.S., Watanabe led Jinsei Gakuen High School to second place in the 2010 and 2011 All-Japan Tournaments. He has already competed for the Japanese National Team - as an 18-year-old, he helped Japan to third place at the 2013 East Asian Basketball Association Championship for Men and ninth in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship - and joins Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen as foreign-born Colonials with experience in international competition. Like GW classmate Matt Cimino, Watanabe comes from a basketball family - both of his parents played in Japan's top leagues, his mother, Kumi, also played for the Japanese Women's National Team, and his sister, Yuki, currently plays for Aishin AW of the Women's Japan Basketball League.
"Yuta is a very versatile player who can play several positions," said Coach Lonergan. "He has the ball-handling and shooting abilities of a guard and the athleticism and height of a forward. We expect him to make an immediate impact for us because of his combination of skills."