Intro to a basketball feature from The Japan Times, which was published on Jan. 24, 2019.

As a college freshman, Kai Toews has quickly become a player to pay attention to.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington point guard is one of the elite passers in all of NCAA Division I basketball (351 institutions).

The Tokyo native is averaging 7.7 assists through the first 20 games of the college season, and the Seahawks have relied on Toews to initiate their offense since the season tipped off in November. He is No. 3 overall in Division I in assists per game. The NCAA leader, Ja Morant of Murray State, is averaging 10.7 a game through Sunday.

In Toews’ seventh game, he dished out a career-high 14 assists against Eastern Illinois on Nov. 25. Since then, he’s handed out 10 assists twice (against East Carolina and Davidson) in back-to-back games after the Eastern Illinois showdown, while also registering 11-, 12- and 13-assist games.

Toews, who attended Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Massachusetts, for his junior and senior years, has set a high bar for himself and his team early in his college career.

UNCW coach C.B. McGrath is impressed with Toews’ team-first play and the confidence that his teammates have in him.

“Kai is so unselfish,” McGrath said. “He could have a wide-open layup and he’ll pitch it out to someone for a 3. That’s what he likes to do. He loves the assist. I have to encourage him to take the wide-open layup. I think it gives the guys around him the confidence that he believes in them and has confidence that they’re going to knock down the shot.”

Source: UNC Wilmington’s Kai Toews bursts onto scene as dynamic passer in freshman season | The Japan Times