Sunday, June 18, 2017

Post-Gazette profiles Robert Morris women's basketball recruit Honoka Ikematsu, first Japanese player in program history.

via @rmuwbasketball.

Today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette features a profile of Honoka Ikematsu, an 18-year-old Japanese woman who is among the latest recruits to the Robert Morris University women's basketball team.
In Honoka Ikematsu, a native of Kumamoto, Japan, [assistant coach Asami] Morita found a player who wanted to compete at a college program in the United States. She also found a player whose skills could transfer across the Pacific Ocean.

Of the numerous differences between Japanese and American women’s basketball, the most significant are the shooting styles. Japanese women’s basketball guards shoot with two hands, similar to a set shot, with a slow release. It’s often accurate, Buscaglia said, but would be easily defended in an American basketball game.

“A lot of players that you would bring over here, you would have to re-teach them how to shoot or you would have to live with the way they shoot the ball,” Buscaglia said.

Concerns of Ikematsu’s ability to learn the American shooting style — using one hand as a guide, and a second hand to push the ball — were eased when they saw film of her scrimmaging with Seattle-based AAU program Emerald City Basketball Academy. Ikematsu already had the American shooting form mastered.
Ikematsu, who signed with Robert Morris on May 18, is the first Japanese player in that program's history.