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Namizato, Newton grab All-Star starting roles

Date Posted: 2011-12-16

Rookie guard Narito Namizato joins five-time All-Star center Jeff Newton as the two Ryukyu Golden Kings players chosen to the starting five of the Western Conference All-Stars for the upcoming All Star Game.

Six-time All-Star Cohey Aoki of the Osaka Evessa, who are nip and tuck with the Golden Kings for the top spot in the Western Conference, is joined by teammate Lynn Washington and Shimane Susanoo Magic scoring leader Michael Parker rounding out the starting five for the January 15th contest to be played at the Saitama Super Arena.

The west will be coached by Alan Westover, the Shiga Lakestars head coach, with Koto Toyama of the Miyazaki Shining Suns as his assistant. In reserve for the West are guards Yu Okada of Shiga, Hiroyuki Kikuchi of the Takamatsu Five Arrows, Fukuoka’s Jun Nakanishi and Miyazaki’s Taishiro Shimuzu, along with forwards Kevin Palmer of Fukuoka and Wendell White of the Oita HeatDevils. Former National Basketball Association center Lance Allred of the Kyoto Hannaryz rounds out the Western Conference squad.

It’s the head coach that’s drawing the headlines for the Eastern Conference All Star team. Natalie Nakase of the Saitama Broncos is the first female head coach in BJ League history. Nakase is a product of UCLAL and was a women’s professional basketball coach in Germany before coming to Japan.

Guards Masashi Joho, a four-time All-Star now with the Toyama Grouses, and Takehiko Shimura of the Sendai 89ers, join forwards John Humphrey and Daiki Terashita, both of Saitama, and ex-Bronco Kazuhiro Shoji of the Akita Northern Happinets. Shoji’s 37 and the oldest All-Star named this year.

Eric Gardow of the Chiba Jets will be the East’s assistant coach. Rounding out the East squad are guards Makoko Sawaguchi of the Iwat Big Bulls and Chiba’s Maurice Hargrow, Takaki Ishida of Chiba, forwards Lee Roberts of the Shinshu Brave Warriors and Justin Burrell of the Yokohama B-Corsairs, and centers Atsuya Ota of the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and Chris Holm of the Niigata Albirex BB.

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