BASKETBALL JAPAN LEAGUE
Bobby Nash will begin his pro career in Japan
When Bobby Nash returned from a family vacation to Tokyo last summer, he didn't think he'd be heading back to Japan quite so soon.
The former Hawaii basketball player is scheduled to leave Hawaii on July 1 to embark on a professional career with the Shiga Lakestars of the Basketball Japan League.
"After the season I hoped I would a have a chance to play somewhere, anywhere really," said Nash, who closed his five-year career with the Rainbow Warriors in March. "It so happened God blessed me with the opportunity to play in Japan."
Nash, the son of UH coach Bob Nash, visited Tokyo with his mother and sister last summer and will be based in Osaka with the Lakestars, who open their 52-game regular season in October.
Nash participated in a camp organized by former UH coach Bruce O'Neill in Blue River, Ore., in May and caught the interest of Lakestars coach Robert Pierce.
"He was in my ear the entire tournament," Nash said. "They sent over a contract, I looked it over with my parents and said let's get it done."
Nash played all five positions for the Rainbows last season and expects to have a similar role for the Lakestars, an expansion squad in the 12-team league. They recently signed Oregon center Ray Schafer and Brayden Billbe of American University.
Perhaps the bigger adjustment will be moving to a foreign country after spending his college career at home.
"It's going to be a big change for me," Nash said. "Now it's time to open the wings and see what I'm made of. I'll go from mom's cooking to cooking on my own, but she's taught me well."
The 6-foot-6 Nash averaged 13.7 points as a senior, hitting a team-high 59 3-pointers. He is the 14th UH player to reach 1,000 career points. He's the second UH senior headed to Asia to play pro ball. Jared Dillinger signed with a team in the Philippines.
"I'm just ready to go to work," Nash said. "It's a job now, but it's a job I love."