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Friday, April 25, 2008

BJ-LEAGUE

Nakamura to coach new bj-league team


Staff writer

Longtime coach Kazuo Nakamura will lead the Hamamatsu Higashi Mikawa Phoenix in their inaugural season in the bj-league, it was announced on Wednesday.

Nakamura, 67, has coached since the mid-1960s and has been at the helm of the team formerly known as OSG Phoenix since 1998, when it competed in the Japan Industrial League.

Along with the Phoenix, the Shiga Lakestars begin play in the bj-league next fall, giving the league 12 teams in its fourth season.

The Phoenix officially defected from the JBL to the bj-league on March 31. The Phoenix Communications Corporation is the team's new ownership group.

Nakamura made his head coaching debut in 1966. He coached girls high school basketball until 1973, and led a high school squad to four national championships and four runnerup finishes.

From 1974-92, he coached the Japan Energy Corporation team, guiding it to five All-Japan titles, including back-to-back crowns in 1978 and '79, as well as 17 straight Final Four appearances. In that span, his club also won six JBL titles and finished runnerup seven times.

Nakamura coached at Akita Keizai Daigaku (now called North Asia University) from 1995-97.

Since joining OSG Phoenix, Nakamura has achieved considerable success. The team won the Japan Industrial Title in '99, and then captured the 1999-2000 JBL title and a pair of runnerup finishes.

In 2005-06, Nakamura led the club to the JBL Super League's Final Four and did so again this past season, though the Japan Basketball Association's top-level league is no longer referred to as the Super League.

Nakamura served as the "B" head coach for the Japan Women's National Team in 1978-79 and was elevated to the top women's coach in 1979-81 and from 1985-90.

The Phoenix will feature a new nucleus of players next season. Many of the previous season's players will not be with the team as it makes the jump to the bj-league.

Carter has surgery

East Rutherford N.J. AP

New Jersey Nets guard Vince Carter had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right ankle on Wednesday.



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