As the B. League gains recognition on the global scale, the infusion of international players and coaches will continue to be vital.
For instance, take a glance at the Levanga Hokkaido roster.
Like their 17 top-division foes, the Levanga are looking to put a competitive team on the court. And they are doing so with a first-year Brazilian head coach (Jose Neto) and veteran Spanish big man (David Doblas) along with returning frontcourt standout Marc Trasolini, who was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, as key cornerstones. Trasolini played college ball at Santa Clara University, the California school where future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash matriculated.
Doblas, who turned 37 in August, attended the University of Barcelona and began his pro career in 1999. He competed in the Argentine League last season for Estudiantes Concordia.
Hokkaido, which went 1-1 in its opening weekend, also features returning contributors Zen Maki, Asahi Tajima, Yoshitake Matsushima and 48-year-old icon Takehiko Orimo in the backcourt and Daisuke Noguchi and Ryota Sakurai, among others, in the frontcourt. California-born Sean Ichioka, a 198-cm forward, joined the club in the offseason after suiting up for the SeaHorses Mikawa in multiple stints from 2013-17.
Neto’s staff includes advisory coach Tomohide Utsumi, who guided the Japan women’s national team to the quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.