Rui Hachimura is Gonzaga’s best player as the Bulldogs attempt to win a title during the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Here’s all the information you need to know about the team’s Japanese star, including the reason his parents’ names have been withheld from the public.
He’s Beninese and Japanese
Hachimura was born in Toyama Prefecture in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Beninese father. His parents’ names have been withheld by Gonzaga for privacy reasons. What we do know is Hachimura grew up in Japan and only moved to the United States when he arrived at Gonzaga.
He was a high school star in Japan
Hachimura played baseball as a pitcher and catcher in his younger years but pivoted to basketball as he started to grow. He led Meisei High School to three consecutive All-Japan Tournament victories. In his final season he scored 34 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the championship game.
He was already a star before he even reached college and is likely the best Japanese basketball prospect of all-time.
He didn’t speak much English when he arrived at Gonzaga
During his senior year of high school, Hachimura claimed to understand 80 percent of English, but he could only speak 30 to 40 percent of it. Despite those limitations, he met the SAT and GPA requirements to enter college and played as a freshman when he arrived at Gonzaga in the fall of 2016.
He exploded as a junior
After only starting two games as a sophomore last season, Hachimura exploded on the scene this year. He’s averaging career-highs in points (19.6), rebounds (6.5), assists (1.6) and minutes (30.1) per game. He’s also shooting 59.9 percent from the field and a ridiculous 45.5 percent from 3-point range.
He was named the 2019 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American.
He’ll be a first-round pick if he jumps
Hachimura looks like a lock to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. While his stock has dropped since early-season lottery talk, he’s settled solidly into the first round.
At 6’9″ and 234 pounds, he has the perfect size for a modern power forward. He is a great shooter from the mid-range and closer and has a developing 3-point shot. He should be a solid defender at the next level, but needs to unlock a bit more athleticism to play at a high level as a pro.