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Friday, July 16, 2010

BJ-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

Hannaryz mum on Abdul-Rauf's future


Staff writer

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf's future with the Kyoto Hannaryz is still uncertain.

A team official said on Wednesday that the Hannaryz are in the middle of formulating their plans for the 2010-11 season and that their roster overhaul has not been completed.

The source acknowledged, however, Kyoto could offer the 41-year-old former NBA guard a chance to return to the team for its second season, which begins in October.

Abdul-Rauf, who averaged 17.9 points in 34 games for the Hannaryz in their inaugural season, can still be a quality ambassador for the team and the league.

Despite his advancing age, Abdul-Rauf remains athletic and productive on both ends of the floor. That said, the final decision — made by Abdul-Rauf and the team — could come down to money.

Several teams around the league have initiated major cost-cutting measures in recent weeks. Kyoto, on the other hand, is reportedly one of the league's wealthiest teams.

Stay tuned.

Summer fun: The Hannaryz will participate in the Kyoto Gion Matsuri on Saturday.

During the traditional parade procession through the city, Hannaryz players Naoto Nakamura, Kyosuke Setoyama, Yusuke Inoue, Taizo Kawabe and Sunao Murakami will be on hand as the colorful floats give locals and visitors a wonderful excuse to take photographs. Call it a good way to mix old traditions with new ones — players from a fledgling team showing they are part of the community.

It's a win-win situation for the club, free publicity and a chance to spread the word about the team with Hannaryz paraphernalia on display.

Getting started: Every organization will have a number of historic firsts. For the Miyazaki Shining Suns, one of three expansion teams for the upcoming seasons, Tuesday was the team's first practice day.

Koto Toyama, the team's 27-year-old rookie head coach, had his first opportunity to supervise something.

Hey, you've got to start somewhere.

Help wanted: In recent days, the Osaka Evessa, Sendai 89ers and Hannaryz have all published online announcements that state the need to fill staff positions, including assistant coach vacancies, for next season.

As the league has rapidly expanded since starting out as a six-team outfit in 2005, the turnover among team employees — in all departments — has been astonishing. Perhaps a job fair can help teams and the league identify qualified candidates for current and future vacancies.

Regional change: It'll be interesting to see if the Korean Basketball League's decision to limit foreigners to one per team will have a positive or negative impact on the bj-league.

Some players, mindful of their chances for court time in South Korea, could choose to play here next season instead of going to KBL clubs. That could expand the talent pool and make the bj-league even more competitive. (Last season, for instance, eight of the 13 bj-league teams had 25 or more wins.)

The KBL's new policy was announced on Monday, according to asia-basket.com, which cited the league's desire to give Koreans a greater opportunity to play as the reason to reduce the number of foreigners per team. Previously, teams were allowed two import players.



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