Suns sign Japan's Yuta Tabuse
The Phoenix Suns today signed guard Yuta Tabuse (pronounced you-TA ta-BOO-say), who will attempt to become the first Japanese-born player to play in the NBA.
The first NBA player of Japanese descent was Wataru Misaka. A 5-7 Japanese-American guard was born in Ogden, Utah, Misaka attended Weber Junior College (now Weber State University), and was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1947. He played in three games in the 1947-48 season before being cut.
As for Tabuse: “Yuta earned the opportunity to sign this contract because he has now proven in two consecutive summers that he can play at the NBA level,” Suns President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo said. “Yuta will get every opportunity to make our team and perhaps this shot at the league will work out for him. He has a great feel for the game and pushes the ball up the floor extremely well. He really has the ability to electrify an audience.”
The Yokohama, Japan native participated in two summer leagues for the Suns in July. In three games at the Reebok Vegas Summer League, the 5-9, 165-pound playmaker averaged 5.0 points and 2.0 assists, while posting averages of 3.8 points and 2.5 assists in six games at Reebok Rocky Mountain Revue.
The 23-year-old attended the Denver Nuggets training camp last year, but was waived prior to the start of the regular season. His tryout with the Nuggets was well documented in the media and on NBA TV’s “Real Training Camp”. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.7 assists in three preseason games with the Nuggets, including seven points, three rebounds and three assists in 11 minutes vs. Phoenix on Oct. 9, 2003. After his release, he signed with the ABA’s Long Beach Jam and averaged 5.3 points and a team-leading 6.3 assists in 18 games.
Tabuse, who played two seasons at Division II Brigham Young-Hawaii, is the fifth player on the Suns roster who was born outside the United States (Tabuse-Japan, Steve Nash-Canada, Leandro Barbosa-Brazil, Zarko Cabarkapa-Serbia and Montenegro, Maciej Lampe-Poland).
He will arrive in Phoenix in the next week.