Saturday, January 1, 2011

Exclusive Q&A with Japanese Pointguard Takumi Ishizaki (Shimane Susanoo Magic) who grinds now to shine later: "I want to go to the Olympics. All my focus is to make this dream come true"

Takumi Ishizaki is the 26 years old pointguard of the Shimane Susanoo Magic (bj League). Takumi (6'2", 187 lbs) grew up in the Hokuriku high school/youth program and he is one of the rising star of the Japanese basketball. He is a member of the National Team, and in his career so far he got numerous international awards: 5th place in Asian junior tournament, 16th place in Universiade  2005, 4th place in Universiade 2007, 2nd place in East Asia basketball championships 2009, 3rd place in East Asian Games 2009, 4th place in Asian Games 2010.

Takumi, tell our readers please something about your career so far?

I started playing basketball when I was 6 years old because my mother was coaching the team in the youth program. I played in the National tournaments in all the categories: elementary school, middle school, high school and university. I was selected as a member on the U18 National Team during my high school years and we got a championship in the National tournament. I also became National champion while attending the University and we got 4th at the Universiade 2007 in Bangkok: it was an amazing international experience. After graduated I played professionally three years with the Toshiba Brave Thunders in JBL but when I got a chance to play in Europe, in Germany, I left the team for a while in april 2010. Now I'm with the Susanoo Magic, and I'm preparing to grind and get the chance to play in Europe again.

Who were your favourite players growing up as a little kid?

I didn't watch basketball that much when a kid, due to fact I didn't love basketball when I was a little kid. Now I'm a real fan, I do love the game. And I watch games and footages of great players, trying to get inspiration and to steal secrets and to become a better player. I love to watch Steve Nash, Ricky Rubio and many other pointguards. But my favourite player is Yuta Tabuse. Although he is a japanese player he is no doubt a great baller: he has similar size as me, great skills and he really can play and he is really good and can compete at any level with import players.

What does working hard mean to you?

I like to work hard, it's a must if you want to become a better player. I do that for myself, coach, fans, family. I'm very competitive, fans here are great and supportive, so I just try to grind to get better and  ready for the next level.

Maybe not everybody knows about the bj league. What can you tell us about the Japanese basketball?

I think we are a backward country in basketball now. We depend on foreign players in many cases during the games. The same stuff happens in both the Japanese leagues, the bj and the JBL. I know that nobody knows about our leagues so the goal is to make the Japanese basketball more attractive and professional in the years to come. The domestic players have to improve and need to be able to compete against the imports.  I'm optimistic that it will happen.

What is your typical off-season and what do you enjoy off the court?

I almost don't have off-season because when the season ends we have the National team training camps.  So usually I go on short vacations and I love meeting friends. In my spare time I like reading books.

What are your future goals? Have you ever thought to play in other leagues, for instance in Europe?

I want to go to the Olympics: that's my dream. Our National team hasn't participated to the Olympics for a long time. All my efforts and focus is to make this dream come true. I definitely would love to play in Europe: I could learn more in high level leagues and I want to push myself to the next level, even for the Japanese basketball.

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