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Former OJC Basketball Player Signs Pro Contract in Japan
Former Otero Junior College point guard, Yuki Yamaguchi, has signed a contract to play professionally in the Japan Basketball League with the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. The Phoenix enter the 2011-2012 season having won back-to-back league titles, posting a 40-6 record a year ago. The league in Japan consists of 16 teams divided into an eastern and western conference. Rosters are limited to 15 players playing a 52-game schedule beginning on October 15.
Yamaguchi played for the Rattlers from 2007-09 where he led Region IX in assists both season. He currently holds the record at Otero with the highest free throw percentage for a season (89.5%). Yamaguchi averaged 5.4 assist per game and only 1.8 turnovers per game in his career at Otero, which is a 3 to 1 ratio.
After playing at Otero, Yamaguchi went on to play for Pfeiffer University in North Carolina where he competed in the Carolina’s Conference and played non-conference games against North Carolina State and Duke.
Houston Reed, OJC head basketball coach, said that he is very proud of Yamaguchi and the success he has earned since leaving Otero. Reed said that most Rattler fans will remembered Yamaguchi for his full-court defensive pressure, blazing speed, taking of charges and making on the point passes. “Mostly though” said Reed, “he was appreciated and loved for how hard he played and the quality of human he was as a Rattler.”
Reed said that he considers Yamaguchi to be one of those once-in-a-coaching-career type of player.
“I have never seen a player with his work ethic, team attitude, ability and toughness all rolled into one player. He spent more time in the gym polishing his game, increasing his conditioning, and watching film than any player I have been around. Mostly, I loved coaching him for the size of the heart in his chest, and the respect he has for his teammates and the game. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I am very excited for him and his family. I know this has been his goal for many years,” said Reed.
Yamaguchi said that he was grateful for the opportunity Coach Reed gave him while he was a player at Otero.
“He gave me the chance to play basketball in the United States. I am blessed to have learned under his guidance. I’m excited to be playing with the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and thank them for giving me a chance to play at the professional level. I want to get better and know that I still have a lot to learn from their coaches and players. This will be my rookie year in the pros and I will do my best,” he said.
Yuki Yamaguchi graduated from Otero Junior College with a 3.6 grade point average and received his bachelor’s degree from Pfeiffer University in International Business.