Yuta Watanabe attracted positive attention during the Brooklyn Nets’ five NBA Summer League Games in Las Vegas earlier this month.
The prospective NBA player, who wrapped up his four years at George Washington University in the spring, showcased his 3-point shooting ability, defensive versatility, shot-blocking skills and energy in a memorable stretch of eight days.
Above all, the 23-year-old Watanabe aimed to prove he belongs while competing against others with the same goal: to be an NBA employee.
“I don’t want to be an NBA player because I’m Japanese,” he told reporters in Las Vegas. “I want to be an NBA player because I’m a basketball player. Just like everybody else.”
Speaking to The Washington Post while in Las Vegas, Watanabe admitted he was taking one important step en route to his ultimate destination.
“It’s great. It’s great for me,” he told The Washington Post, referring to the Summer League. “Great experience, but it’s still Summer League. I still have a lot to go, so my goal is not here.”