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Rosters for the 2024 B.League All-Star Game are Unveiled

Led by popular national team players Makoto Hiejima and Yuki Togashi, who will serve as captains, the B.League All-Star Game is set for January 14.

Lineups for the 2024 B.League All-Star Game are now out.

Fan votes for the starters were tabulated from November 1 to December 6.

B.League All-Star Weekend festivities will be held January 12-14, 2024, at Okinawa Arena. That is the home of the reigning champion Ryukyu Golden Kings and one of the venues for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The popular Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest and Dunk Contest are set to be held on January 13, the same date as the B.League Asia Rising Star Game.

On tap for January 14 is the B.League Under-18 All-Star Game, a showcase for the pro league's U-18 circuit's players. After that, the marquee event tips off at 3:15 PM in Okinawa City.

Now in its eighth season, the B.League promotes its teams and players on a nationwide scale with the various All-Star festivities and fan voting leading up to the midseason extravaganza.

As reported by the B.League in a news release on December 8, a total of 16,610,940 fan votes were cast for All-Star Game player selections. Overall, this is roughly a 100% increase from 2022.

Who finished No 1 among players from the B.League's 24 top-division teams in All-Star voting?

Utsunomiya Brex shooting guard Makoto Hiejima with 473,282 votes, a league record for All-Star voting.

Hiejima, one of the key veteran players on Japan's Basketball World Cup squad, is averaging 12.3 points and 3.7 assists for the Brex, one of the top teams in the East.

As the top vote-getter, he was named captain of B.Black. The other All-Star squad is B.White.

B.League All-Star Game
Makoto Hiejima (B.LEAGUE)

Grateful to be Selected to Play in the B.League All-Star Game

Hiejima, a seven-time All-Star selection, expressed gratitude to fans for selecting him as a starter. The B.League released comments from All-Stars reacting to the news of being chosen.

"Thank you to everyone who voted," he said. "I'm happy to be able to participate on the All-Star team this season as a starter, [and] I'm going to enjoy myself while playing so that everyone can have fun."

B.League All-Star Game
Ryukyu Golden Kings swingman Keita Imamura (B.LEAGUE)

Also selected as starters for B.Black: Ryukyu Golden Kings guard Ryuichi Kishimoto (10.8 points, 2.6 assists; a four-time All-Star pick), Sunrockers Shibuya big man Josh Hawkinson (17.9 points, 7.7 rebounds), Ryukyu shooting guard/small forward Keita Imamura (13.9 points, 3.6 assists) and SeaHorses Mikawa shooting guard/small forward Yudai Nishida (11.7 points, 2.0 assists).

"Thank you for all your votes," Kishimoto commented. "I hope it will be a wonderful time for the players playing, the fans who come to watch, and everyone involved in hosting the All-Star Games. Let's make Okinawa even more exciting through [All-Star Weekend]!"

Golden Kings bench boss Dai Oketani is the B.Black coach.

B.League All-Star Game
Sunrockers Shibuya forward Josh Hawkinson (B.LEAGUE)

Excited to Return to Okinawa

Hawkinson, a naturalized Japanese player who was born in Seattle and attended Washington State before launching his pro career in 2017, averaged 21.0 points and 10.8 rebounds in five games for Japan during the Basketball World Cup. In doing so, he helped his adopted nation book a spot in the basketball tournament at the 2024 Paris Games and qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Games.

Hawkinson is excited to earn his first trip to the B.League All-Star Game.

"I am able to participate in the All-Star Game for the first time," Hawkinson said. "Thanks to everyone who voted. I'm looking forward to seeing you in Okinawa for the first time since the World Cup."

It's just a shoe!

Additional B.Black All-Stars

Six players were also named to the B.Black squad based on recommendations from the league office.

Akita Northern Happinets shooting guard/small forward Raita Akaho, Utsunomiya power forward Isaac Fotu, Alvark Tokyo small forward Hirotaka Yoshii, Kawasaki Brave Thunders guards Yuma Fujii and Ryusei Shinoyama and Nagoya Diamond Dolphins point guard Takumi Saito.

Among B.Black's recommended players, Shinoyama tops the chart as a seven-time All-Star selection.

B.League All-Star Game
Golden Kings center Jack Cooley (B.LEAGUE)

Rounding out the B.Black roster are Ryukyu center Jack Cooley, who was chosen via "On Fire" voting on Basket Live, SoftBank's mobile streaming service, and Kawasaki center Nick Fazekas, who was picked in a special one-day SNS vote on December 12.

B.League All-Star Game
Chiba Jets guard Yuki Togashi (B.LEAGUE)

The Starting Five for B.White

Chiba Jets franchise cornerstone Yuki Togashi is the B.White team captain. Averaging 19.9 points and 4.9 assists, the 30-year-old Togashi, one of Japan's premier point guards, is an eight-time All-Star selection, leading all B.League players in that category.

Rising star Yuki Kawamura of the Yokohama B-Corsairs joins Togashi in the B.White starting backcourt. The 22-year-old is the B.League's leading scorer (24.4 points) and also No 1 in assists (6.1).

B.League All-Star Game
Yokohama B-Corsairs guard Yuki Kawamura (B.LEAGUE)

Nagasaki Velca shooting guard/small forward Yudai Baba (13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists) is back as an All-Star after a five-year absence, during which he played in the NBA G League and Australian NBL. Also chosen by fans: 20-year-old Jets small forward Ren Kanechika (8.1 points) and do-it-all forward Perrin Buford of the Shimane Susanoo Magic, who is averaging 21.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.3 assists.

Chiba sideline supervisor John Patrick is the B.White coach.

B.White Players React to Being Selected

"Thank you to everyone who voted every day," Togashi stated. "I'm very happy to be chosen in the voting every year. And I'm looking forward to the All–Star Game. I want to enjoy it to the fullest this time, so please come and see it."

Togashi also revealed to fans a top objective he has on his mind for January 13.

"My goal is to beat Kawamura in the Skills Challenge," he said of the six-player competition.

Kanechika summed up his thoughts before his All-Star debut this way: "I'm really happy that I was chosen by the fan vote. My All-Star [teammate] Yuki-san [Togashi] will be with me, so I'm looking forward to it. Please come and see it."

B.League All-Star Game
Shimane Susanoo Magic forward Perrin Buford (B.LEAGUE)

Buford, widely considered one of the best all-around players in the B.League, said he appreciates being recognized by the fans.

"I am very happy and honored to be selected as an All-Star once again," said Buford, who is in his fourth season with Shimane and made the All-Star team for the first time in 2022. "We are looking forward to meeting many fans in Okinawa. I hope to deliver a great performance for everyone. See you in Okinawa."

B.League All-Star Game
Susanoo Magic guard Seiya Ando (B.LEAGUE)

Additional B.White All-Star Selections

For B.White, the following were chosen as recommended players by the league office: Levanga Hokkaido shooting guard/small forward Ryota Sakurai, Gunma Crane Thunders shooting guard Naoto Tsuji, Yokohama power forward/center Josh Scott, San-en NeoPhoenix point guard Morihisa Yamauchi, Osaka Evessa power forward/center Joji Takeuchi and Hiroshima Dragonflies forward Dwayne Evans.

B.White's "On Fire" pick is Gunma point guard Narito Namizato.

In the SNS one-day voting on December 12, Shimane standout Seiya Ando, the league's second-leading scorer (20.5 points) who is also averaging 3.8 assists, secured a spot on the squad.

Around the B.League

Who's hot: Among the 24 teams in B1, six teams have 14 or more wins through Sunday, December 17: The Alvark and the NeoPhoenix (with identical 18-3 records), the Golden Kings (17-4), the Brex (16-5), the Brave Thunders and the Diamond Dolphins (both with 14-7 records).

Keep an Eye On: The Crane Thunders (10-11) have won five straight, and the SeaHorses (13-8) carried a five-game victory streak into the next-to-last week of 2023.

In addition, the Golden Kings took a six-game win streak into the midweek clash with visiting Nagasaki on Wednesday, December 20, when all 24 teams were scheduled to play.

Aiming to Improve

The Ibaraki Robots and Toyama Grouses are tied for the worst record (1-20). Ibaraki has dropped 10 straight.

Meanwhile, the Shinshu Brave Warriors (4-17) are also seeking to end a 10-game slide.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven.


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