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Golden Kings center named BJL Top Player

Date Posted: 2012-06-22

For a seventh consecutive year, the powerful big guy for the Ryukyu Golden Kings has found his way to the top of the statistics heap in Basketball Japan League recognition.

Center Jeff Newton, who led his Okinawa squad to a second league championship in four years, has been named as Japan Times Player of the Year for 2011-2012, a title he first won in 2008-2009, when the Golden Kings won their first championship. Newton’s been with the league long enough to amass five championship rings, including three with the Osaka Evessa, the Western Division’s powerhouse before Okinawa came along.

Newton has been the team leader in Okinawa, motivating fellow Kings while playing each game like it was a championship contest at his alma mater, Indiana University. He averaged 19 rebounds, 17 of them defensive boards, each game, while scoring nine, providing three assists and three steals. In the championship game against the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix.

Justin Burrell of the Yokohama B-Corsairs was runner up, and Jermaine Dixon of the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix third. Ryukyu’s Anthony McHenry was fourth in rankings. Rounding out the top ten were Jamel Staten of Chiba, Kevin Palmer of Rizing Fukuoka, Michael Parker of the Shimane Susanoo Magic, T.J. Cummings of the Oita HeatDevils, Masashi Joho of the Toyama Grouses and Derek Raivio of the Shinshu Brave Warriors.

Finishing in the 18th position was Narito Namizato of Okinawa. The 22-year-old addition to the Golden Kings this past season averaged 11 points per game, while amassing a team best record at steals…63. Naoto Kosuge, who averaged 10.5 points per game, received honorable mention in the rankings, as did David Palmer, whose 50% three-point scoring was a league best.

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