The Earthfriends Tokyo Z try to blaze a path within the B. League with the signing of 18-year-old Kaine Roberts.
Roberts, a guard who was born to a Japanese mom and American father, shall be making his skilled debut — form of. As a result of he desires to retain his eligibility to compete on the collegiate stage in the US, Roberts obtain a wage.
“It’s large that we’ve discovered a technique to let a participant compete in a professional league after which go to the NCAA,” Earthfriends head coach Shunsuke Todo stated throughout Roberts’ on-line introductory information convention on Thursday, a couple of weeks after the membership formally introduced the signing.
Todo continued: “I’m happy with this announcement as a result of that is very epoch-making for each the B. League and Japanese basketball. Kaine will play for us for a yr after which problem the NCAA. I believe we will current a brand new path for different younger Japanese gamers.”
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, Roberts performed at Nile C. Kinnick Excessive Faculty within the Yokosuka Navel Base and Santa Margarita Catholic Excessive Faculty in California.
The 187-cm guard performed for the Yokohama B-Corsairs’ U-15 staff in addition to for the Tokyo Samurai, a youth membership staff.
Final Could, Roberts was one of many two gamers from Japan who had been a part of the Asia-Pacific choose squad for the U-16 All-Star recreation towards the European youth squad through the EuroLeague Ultimate 4 week in Spain.
Roberts was invited to the Basketball With out Borders Asia camp hosted by the NBA and was given the camp’s GRIT Award for his hard-working play in Tokyo final yr.
Roberts stated he appreciates the chance to be half of a professional staff as a result of it will “assist my recreation progress to the following stage,” which could possibly be Japan’s nationwide staff, the NCAA and even the NBA.
Roberts, who idolizes the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, didn’t draw back from saying he desires to make an influence on the Earthfriends and the B. League.
“Actually, coming in as a rookie, I simply need to make my largest influence from the very first recreation,” Roberts stated. “Even when that’s preseason or common scrimmage. I simply need to make my largest influence.”
Todo revealed he had an opportunity to have nationwide staff star Yudai Baba see Roberts follow in particular person through the quarantine interval for the COVID-19 pandemic. The coach stated Baba advised him Roberts, who was 17 that point, is “manner higher than he was” at 17.
Roberts will put on a No. four jersey for the Earthfriends, who completed within the Central Convention with a 12-35 report within the 2019-20 season.