03 - 11
July 2021
88 Tenketsu Harimoto (JPN)
Team Announcement
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Japan prop hopes on U19 talents Harper, Meisei High duo Kanno and Yamazaki

TOKYO (Japan) - Japan legendary coach Kenichi Sako has called on a young roster for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2021 featuring the historic Lawrence Harper Jr. and the duo of Bruce Kanno and Ibu Yamazaki.

The biggest name on the team is Harper, who made headlines in February by becoming the youngest player in B.League history at just 17 years, 11 months and 28 days playing for Ryukyu Golden Kings Okinawa.

Similar to Harper, who was born to a Japanese mother and an American father, Kanno and Yamazaki are both mixed-race players as well. Yamazaki has a Japanese mother and Guinean father and Kanno father is American and his mother Japanese. In addition, Yamazaki and Kanno were teammates at the Meisei High School in Sendai, which also produced Japan's biggest star Rui Hachimura.

Japan's roster for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2021
Hideya Asai Lawrence Harper Jr. Junpei Iwashita Ren Kanechika Bruce Kanno
Yuto Kawashima Yu Kibayashi Taiyo Motoda Atsuya Ogawa Yuto Yamanouchi
Ibu Yamazaki Eo Yoneyama Java      

Among the Japanese players from the college ranks, Daiyo Motoda spent last at Tokai University and won the 2020 Japanese university championship.

Harper, Kanno and Yamazaki are three of eight players who were born in 2003 or later with just four players from the 2002-born generation on the team for Sako, who was elected into the FIBA Hall of Fame with the class of 2020. The youngest player on the Japan team is Yuto Kawashima, who was born on May 27, 2005.

Japan are playing at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup for the fourth time following 1991, 1999 and 2017. They  have been drawn into Group A for the July 3-11 tournament with Canada, Lithuania and Senegal.