Nagasaki Veluka Welcomes Yudai Baba as GM Ito Foresees Positive Impact on Team
In an exclusive press conference on September 26th, Nagasaki Veluka introduced their newest addition, Yudai Baba, alongside General Manager (GM) Takuma Ito.
GM Ito shed light on Baba’s journey to joining the team. The pair previously played together for the Texas Legends in the G League during the 2019-20 season, forming a strong bond that has endured. Recognizing Baba’s aspiration to break into the NBA, GM Ito refrained from extending an offer despite assuming his role as Nagasaki’s GM in 2021 (having served as head coach at the time). However, upon hearing of Baba’s contemplation of playing domestic games this season, GM Ito seized the opportunity to bring him on board through Baba’s agent. This union was solidified after discreetly inviting Baba to Nagasaki and presenting him with a myriad of enticing opportunities within the city and club.
It is worth noting that Baba harbors a fervent desire to play in the NBA, with the upcoming Paris Olympics viewed as a prime opportunity to make that dream a reality. Consequently, he places great significance on the current season as a crucial stepping stone towards his ultimate goal. GM Ito expressed his satisfaction with the decision, affirming, “We thoroughly discussed his aspirations for this season and deliberated on how Nagasaki Veluka can enhance his growth as both a player and an individual. We are delighted that Yudai has chosen us. This season promises to be an electrifying and memorable one for Nagasaki Veluka.”
Taking the microphone, Baba seized the opportunity to address the audience. “Returning to the B.League, my aim is, of course, to contend for the championship. Simultaneously, since I began playing basketball, my unwavering aspiration has been to become an NBA player. I believe that my journey thus far has shaped me into the individual I am today. Joining Nagasaki Veluka allows me to benefit from the expertise of individuals from a country renowned for its basketball prowess, including Takuma and Coach Nakayama (Yusuke Nakayama, Director of Sports Performance). I selected this team because I believe it provides the ideal environment for my growth in preparation for the Paris Olympics.”
Following Baba’s speech, GM Ito interjected once again. Citing Baba’s championship-winning experiences with the University of Tsukuba, Alvark Tokyo, and Melbourne United (Australian NBL), he emphasized, “Yudai is a player who regards triumph as an essential characteristic. His unwavering commitment to excellence aligns with Nagasaki Veluka’s values. I firmly believe that his exceptional standards will exert a positive influence on the global stage.”
When asked about the particular spectacle he wishes fans to witness, Baba responded, “While many may be familiar with my domestically and internationally renowned ‘BABA BOOM’ dunk shot, I am wholeheartedly devoted to this season and have introduced a new playing style. Therefore, I yearn for everyone to witness a transformed Yudai Baba, unlike anything seen before.” Regarding the highly anticipated home opener against the Chiba Jets on October 8th, Baba expressed his admiration for the Jets, branding them as a team defining the face of League B. However, he emphasized the importance of preserving Veluka’s challenger spirit, stressing the collective efforts required to ensure they are adequately prepared for the inaugural match.
GM Ito: “His high standards will have a positive effect on the team.”
On September 26th, Nagasaki Veruca held a press conference for Yudai Baba to join the team, and Baba and GM Takuma Ito appeared on stage.
First, GM Ito explained how Baba joined the team. GM Ito and Baba became teammates on the G League’s Texas Legends during the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach and player, and have been in constant contact ever since. GM Ito knew Baba’s goal was to join the NBA, so he didn’t make an offer even after he became Nagasaki’s GM in 2021 (serving as head coach at the time). However, after the World Cup ended, he heard that he was considering playing domestic games this season, so he offered to join the team through his agent. The agreement was reached after inviting Baba to Nagasaki incognito and giving various presentations about the city and the club.
As mentioned above, Baba has a goal of playing in the NBA, and he looks to next year’s Paris Olympics as his biggest chance to achieve that goal, and he puts importance on how he spent this season , which was the previous year. GM Ito revealed, “We listened to his thoughts about this season and discussed how much he can grow as a player and person by coming to Nagasaki Veruca.”We are very glad that they made this decision. it will be an exciting and great season for Nagasaki Veruca.”
Baba then took the microphone and gave the following speech. “Now that I’m coming back to the B.League, of course I want to aim for the championship. At the same time, I’ve had a goal since I started playing basketball, which is to become a player NBA. think that I am who I am today because I have always thought about it. In Nagasaki Veluka, we have people with experience in a country that is said to be the best in the world in basketball, like Takuma and coach Nakayama (Yusuke Nakayama , director of sports performance). I chose this team because I thought it was the environment where I could grow the most in preparation for the Paris Olympics.”
Following Baba’s speech, GM Ito spoke again. Noting that Baba won championships with the University of Tsukuba, Alvark Tokyo, and Melbourne United (Australian NBL), he said, “He is a player who takes winning as a matter of quality. The high standards he has are those that ‘n he won with Nagasaki Veruca.”I believe it will have a positive impact on the world.”
When asked, “Which drama do you really want to see?” Baba replied, “I would like you to see his dunk shot, which is known domestically and internationally as “BABA BOOM,” but I have a very strong commitment to this season. So, I would like to show a new Yudai Baba never seen before,” he said, noting a change in his playing style. Regarding the home opener against the Chiba Jets on October 8, he said, “I think the Jets are now a team who can be called the face of League B.”, I want to keep our challenger spirit in mind and work as one as a team We want to do our best to prepare for the opening game.”
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