A hard-core basketball fan reflected on the departure of Japan national team guard Takumi Ishizaki from the bj-league's Shimane Susanoo Magic after the 2010-11 season to play in Germany.Here's what she had to say:
"I was just thinking that he is going to be in a wonderful position to show current and future professional Japanese basketball players that there are other legitimate and challenging options beyond the bj-league and JBL.
"It is important, in my opinion, that these guys have and make use of every single basketball option available to them. Their playing time here in Japan is pretty limited; with many teams thinking that players in their late 20s/early 30s are already over the hill. They have no union representation; which often leaves their COLLECTIVE voice and wishes unheard. For those who really like the current system, then great...but for those talented players who don't quite fit in, what a way to go."
By defying the status quo, Ishizaki has gained many admirers.
"Unfortunately, I think too many Japanese players get stuck in thinking that they have to stay here in Japan, for whatever reason, when it might not be in their best interest to do so," the source said. "(I'm) really glad to see Mr. Ishizaki spreading his wings and testing his limits. His confidence and decision sends the exciting message that Japanese players CAN go abroad and contribute effectively on basketball teams in other countries... and that, in my opinion, will undoubtedly help raise the quality of the sport here.
"You can bet that once the league sees more of its BEST players (you know...the money-makers) moving on to 'greener pastures,' it will work harder to keep them at home -- and that boils down to better pay, better options/benefits and a better set of Japanese leagues..."
Update: Ishizaki is averaging a team-best 14.0 points in six games for the BV Chemnitz 99 in the German ProA League.