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Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011

Hamilton brings inside presence to Fukuoka


The offseason signing frenzy continues.

Tenacious rebounder Gary Hamilton has joined the Rizing Fukuoka after two banner seasons with the Shiga Lakestars, the bj-league team has announced.

Hamilton, who played college ball at the University of Miami (Florida), welcomes the new challenge.

"I look forward to stepping in the Rizing organization and bringing immediate toughness," said Hamilton, who averaged a league-best 12.7 boards per game last season. "I love to rebound and I'm extremely unselfish, leading the Lakestars in assists two years in a row."

Hamilton, 27, was affectionately called "King G" by Shiga fans.

He added: "I'm happy to be returning to Japan and having a chance to experience another great city. Please welcome me with open arms as we get ready to have a fun, great and memorable season."

In other league news, former University of Minnesota guard Al Nolen will play for the Kyoto Hannaryz this season, the Western Conference team announced on Friday.

Nolen, 22, underwent surgery on his broken right foot in the winter, which limited him to 14 games for the Golden Gophers as a senior. He averaged 8.4 points in 2010-11 for Minnesota, which was ranked No. 16 in the NCAA at the time of Nolen's foot injury in late January.

The 185-cm Nolen is beginning his pro career after two seasons in which he missed significant chunks of time. As a junior, Nolen, the former McDonald's All-American honorable mention selection as a Minneapolis schoolboy, played his final game on Jan. 17 due to academic ineligibility.

Now, Nolen, one of the youngest players in the bj-league, will be focused on making an impact on the court while recovering from his injury.

In a June 7 story posted on nbadraft.net, he offered this update on his recovery:

"Well the foot is doing better; still some pains. I actually figured I would be 100 percent by now, but I still am not. Doctors tell me it is because of the scar tissue in my foot not being used to the screw. ... It is a slow progress and I just have to be patient with it."

Meanwhile, center Paul Butorac, an Eastern Washington product, will suit up for the Takamatsu Five Arrows this season. He spent last season with the Akita Northern Happinets after two campaigns with the Niigata Albirex BB.

Also Friday, the expansion Yokohama B-Corsairs made former Osaka Evessa player Michael Katsuhisa an assistant coach. His brother, Geoffrey, holds the same position with the expansion Chiba Jets.

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