WASHINGTON (AP) — Rui Hachimura became the first player from Japan to get chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year.
“It means a lot for me, for my family,” Hachimura said. “For Japan basketball, all my country, it’s a big thing.”
The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something