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Saturday, June 10, 2012

Ryukyu confirms Oketani's departure


The Ryukyu Golden Kings on Friday officially announced head coach Dai Oketani will not receive a new contract for the 2012-13 season, and his tenure with the club has ended.

The 2011-12 bj-league champions posted a news release on their website at 9 p.m. on Friday several hours after The Japan Times broke the story.

Oketani took over as coach in 2008 and led the team to four consecutive trips to the Final Four, a championship in that first season and another on May 20. The Kings also placed runnerup to the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix in 2010-11.

The soft-spoken bench boss compiled a 147-59 won-loss record during the regular season. In the news release, he said it was an honor to work for the team for the past four seasons.

In other league news that this newspaper first reported in February, the Phoenix will move to the Western Conference for the 2011-12 seasons, giving the West 10 teams. The 11-team Eastern Conference will now include two newcomers, the Tokyo Cinq Reves and the Gunma Crane Thunders.

The league also announced on Friday evening that the two-import rule will be enforced for first and third quarters next season; in the second and fourth quarters, teams are permitted to have three imports on the court. For the past two seasons, a two-import rule was in place for the second quarter.

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