The Washington Wizards made Rui Hachimura the first-ever Japanese player to be drafted when they selected him 9th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Gonzaga University. The 6-foot-8 power forward out of Toyama Prefecture, Japan participated in NBA Summer League and played for Japan at the FIBA World Cup.
He began both the summer and his time in the World Cup slow while learning the way of the land, but once he was able to figure it out, the rookie ramped up his aggressive play and began looking for his own shot.
Earlier this month before his first preseason game against the New York Knicks, Hachimura discussed his plans.
“We’ve been working on concepts with our offense and defense. I don’t want to mess that up,” said Hachimura.
Washington Wizards head coach Scott thinks Hachimura has been able to pick up coaching instructions rather quickly.
“The thing I like about him is that he picks up things pretty quick. That’s not always easy to do for a young player and especially a rookie coming in,” Brooks said.
“We are able to move to the next thing [quickly]. He works hard. He’s a great worker.”
Isaiah Thomas Believes Hachimura Can Be a Superstar
The Washington Wizards were in Dallas to take on the Mavericks, and during Wednesday morning’s shootaround, Isaiah Thomas shared his impression of Rui Hachimura.
“He has the tools to be a superstar for sure,” Thomas told Fanatics View.
“He always asks questions, and he is always trying to learn, very smart, and has a high I.Q. I feel he is in the mode of a Kawhi Leonard, not right now, but when he first came in the league with his size, big hands, and can guard multiple positions, great mid-range game. He is very talented,” said Thomas.
Bradley Beal Likes What He Sees From Hachimura
Earlier this week, Bradley Beal was asked which player on the Wizards impressed him the most, and Beal said “Rui.” However, that wasn’t always the case. Beal shared he was on the fence when Hachimura first showed up to the Wizards’ practice facility prior to preseason workouts.
“I didn’t really watch Rui much in the Summer League. I didn’t watch much of him when he was playing in the World Cup games,” Beal said. “I was like ‘what are we raving about?'”
But by the time September rolled around, Beal was singing a different tune. Beal showed up early to the Medstar Performance Center, and Hachimura was the first one there.
“Sure enough, he comes in the gym, and he’s the first one in here,” Beal said. “He’s working out, and he’s getting his weights in. When he’s on the floor, he’s working out, and he’s in a sweat. Then, he steps on the floor to play pick-up, and it’s like ‘damn, what can’t he do?”
Rui Hachimura would finish the game against the Dallas Mavericks with 14 points and 10 rebounds in his rookie debut.