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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

Guard Takushi sets anchor in Oita

Staff report

Well-traveled point guard Naoto Takushi has agreed to play for the Oita HeatDevils this season, the bj-league team announced on Monday.

Since playing for the JBL's Aisin SeaHorses from 2004-06, Takushi has bounced around the bj-league. He has suited up for the Ryukyu Golden Kings (2007-09), Kyoto Hannaryz (2009-10) and Niigata Albirex BB (2010-11). Takushi is considered one of the most talented Japanese players in bj-league history, but his work ethic and attitude on and off the court have been subjects of scathing criticism in the upstart league.

Takushi, a two-time member of the bj-league's Best Five Team, will play for new Oita coach and recently retired guard Yukinori Suzuki, who had played for the team since 2005.

In other league news, 211-cm center Rick Rickert has signed a contract to play for the Kyoto Hannaryz, the St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press reported on Sunday.

Rickert would be the second former University of Minnesota player on the Kyoto roster, joining ex-Golden Gopher point guard Al Nolen. The Hannaryz have already signed ex-NBA center Lance Allred.

Rickert spent two seasons at the University of Minnesota (2001-03) before turning pro two years early. He was drafted 55th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2003 NBA Draft but never played an NBA game.

Since then, he has played in the NBA Development League, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.

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