After a busy summer with Akatsuki Japan, is Kawamura taking a risk? FIBA Basketball World Cup


Yuki Kawamura has certainly had a year to remember.

Ever since they saw him take charge of the junior teams in recent years, basketball fans in Japan have had a sneaking suspicion that the 21-year-old possesses some unique talent of his own. He had already stated his ambition to be a member of the team earlier in the year when he made the choice to become pro and drop out of college. His intention was to be a part of the team should they qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In spite of the fact that those expectations were established in the first few months of the calendar, what Kawamura has been able to accomplish in the time since then has caused a great deal of excitement.

Stunning debut

It all began in June, when Akatsuki Japan’s senior national team played their first game versus Chinese Taipei. Kawamura “failed” to score a single point or even try a field goal in his very first game ever playing at this level; yet, he contributed to the victory by recording 8 assists and 5 steals in the game.

The head coach, Tom Hovasse, could not contain his excitement at the impact that the young player had on the game.

After the match, Hovasse remarked that the new player had made a significant contribution to the team’s defensive performance. “Even though we’re using traps, we’re having a hard time increasing our number of steals. This was something that was a high priority for us. He came in and stole the ball four times all by himself in the second quarter, which brought our total number of steals in the second quarter to five, indicating that he was mostly responsible for this with his quickness as well as his judgment making on the defensive end while applying ball pressure.”

“I had no idea what to anticipate from him, and I must say that I was really pleasantly pleased by what he did.”

Kawamura’s inclusion in the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 roster was almost probably helped by the fact that he played in his first professional game. In the very first game of the tournament in Jakarta, which was played against Kazakhstan, he scored eight points, dished out eight assists, and stole two balls.

Hovasse noted back at the Asia Cup, “He did the same thing [as he did against Chinese Taipei] and really transformed the game.” Hovasse was referring to Taiwan. “That’s exactly what I was looking for. Even though he’s young, he carries himself with self-assurance. He is really good at what he does since he is very knowledgeable about his profession. He had a significant bearing on the outcome of the match.”


During their first big FIBA match together, Yuki Togashi, a veteran teammate and role model, was quick to heap accolades on his protege.

The point guard who was 1.67 meters tall and was 5 feet 6 inches tall remarked, “As you can see, it’s incredibly rare to have two short players [like me and Kawamura], but it’s also vital to underline that size is not what matters.” “We also have our speed and defensive prowess, and as you can see, Kawamura had numerous steals, and from there, we had excellent defensive stops,” Kawamura had several steals, and from there, we had fantastic defensive stops.

Kawamura ended up with him averaging 4.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, however Japan ended up falling in the quarterfinals to Australia, the team that went on to win the tournament, and Australia ended up being crowned champions. Kawamura was taken aback by how well his summer with the national team went, despite the fact that he had a great deal of faith in his abilities.

According to Basketball King, he acknowledged in Japanese that he “didn’t expect I would be participating in national team activities for such a long time.” “I didn’t anticipate I would be involved in national team activities for such a long time.”

Taking in and valuing experience

Kawamura spent months training and learning with the national team while also participating in eight official games in FIBA competitions. Whether or not he intended it, Kawamura was a part of this experience. He rounded up the summer with another spectacular effort against Kazakhstan, this time scoring seven points, dishing out seven assists, and stealing five balls.

As basketball fans, we’ve all seen how these initial national team experiences can expedite a player’s growth, regardless of how gifted they are. Even players of the quality of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have picked up some new tricks while training with the best players in their country.

After spending the summer with Akatsuki Japan, Kawamura is showing signs of progress simply by being in the company of players like Yuta Watanabe and Yudai Baba, who have played professionally outside of Japan.

“I’d say both of them are incredibly influential,” Kawamura told Basketball King. “On the court, we communicated a lot.”

“It’s astonishing how kids pay attention to different things even when they’re not on the court. They take excellent care of their bodies, and I’ve heard stories about their meals, but I thought it was incredible that they put in so much effort that I couldn’t conceive.”

Kawamura has been picked to the national team’s preliminary 13-player training camp roster.

The roster for Japan’s training camp ahead of Window 5

Makoto HiejimaAki ChambersLuke EvansYutaro Suda
Tenketsu HarimotoYuki TogashiKoh FlippinAvi Koki Schafer
Hirotaki YoshiiKai ToewsYudai NishidaSoichiro Inoue
Yuki Kawamura

On November 11, Japan is due to play Bahrain, and on November 14, they will face Kazakhstan for the third time this year. In these games, Kawamura may have a good chance to develop more and demonstrate just how far he has come this summer.

All of this ultimately aligns with his overall goal.

According to Basketball King, he stated prior to the B.League season, “I have always had the dream of being one of the point guards who can beat the world as a member of the Japanese national team.”

“Since the World Cup will be hosted in Japan, I must take part. And if we perform well there, we’ll be allowed to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympics. To help the Japanese national team reach its objective of competing in the Paris Olympics, I truly want to compete in the World Cup.” like Windows 5

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