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Top>People>Blazing Speed and Acrobatic Shooting


Mr. Kei Igarashi

Mr. Kei Igarashi [Profile]

Blazing Speed and Acrobatic Shooting

Mr. Kei Igarashi
Professional Basketball Player

Cheers of "Kei!" ring throughout the stadium.
As shown in the photograph, Kei is known as the most handsome player in Japanese basketball.
When looking at websites that contain images, there really are photographs of beautiful women resembling entertainers and models snuggling up closely to Kei. Rather than simply holding his own against such glamorous women, Kei seems to rise above them with his own manly good looks.
I'm sure his fans are quite envious!
Kei was selected as one of the Best Five Players in the JBL (Japan Basketball League) for two consecutive seasons, 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.
He also represented Japan in the 2006 World Championships, as well as the 2007 and 2009 Asia Championships.
Kei currently plays for the Toyota Alvark. That team consists of the top players in all of Japanese basketball.
It is a great pleasure to introduce a man with such an outstanding resume as a Chuo University graduate.

Kei started basketball during his final year of elementary school. He fully devoted himself to the sport from junior high school and then entered Hokuriku High School, a renowned basketball powerhouse. Kei was a member of the team from his 1st year in high school, and he contributed to the team's placing in the top 8 in Japan's national high school tournament.
"My contemporaries and I are known as the Tabuse Generation. Tabuse attracted a lot of attention during the 3 years that we were in high school. I played the same sort of position as him, and it was somewhat a goal of mine to achieve a status like his at some point in time. Another goal of mine was to continue playing basketball at a university in the Kanto Region after graduating from high school." (quote from the February 2010 issue of Basketball-Zine)
These goals lead Kei to enter the Faculty of Letters at Chuo University, thus beginning the four years that he spent on the Tama Campus.
Tabuse refers to Yuta Tabuse, the first Japanese player in history to enter the NBA, a professional basketball league based in North America. (Tabuse began playing in Japan again in 2008.)
"I have been able to continue playing basketball thanks to encounters that I had at Chuo University with wonderful teammates and coaches," says Kei. "Tama Campus also provided a rich environment for my development."
Kei was particularly inspired by the following words of his coach: " Acquire one skill which cannot be matched by anyone."
Kei decided that his speed was a special quality and made an extra effort in practice to develop his quickness.
The 4 years of practice at Chuo University were the origin of Kei's acrobatic style of play. Kei has been praised as having world-class speed by Zeljko Pavlicevic, a famous European coach who served as head coach of the Japanese national team for 4 years until the 2006 World Championships.
During his 3rd year at university, Kei led the Chuo team to second place in the Intercollegiate Championships. Kei graduate from Chuo in 2003 and joined the Hitachi SunRockers. He made a spectacular debut and was presented with the JBL Super League Rookie of the Year Award for the 2003-2004 season. He was presented with the MVP Award in the 2004 Kirin Cup as a representative of Japan. He was also named as the Most Outstanding Player at the following year's Kirin Cup.
This stellar performance led to Kei being named captain of the Hitachi SunRockers in the 2006-2007 season.
Kei plays point guard (PG). Point guards are responsible for reading and directing the flow of the game in order to create easy shots for teammates. It is a glamorous position that is also referred to as the "floor general."
Kei is often introduced as having more than just good looks. He is introduced in the JBL team guide as follows:
"In addition to playing at high speed, Kei also possesses clutch three-point shooting and the defensive skills necessary to exert pressure on opponents all over the court."
In recognition of his abilities as the league's top point guard and his record of guiding Hitachi to a second-place finish, Kei was given the opportunity to join the Toyota Alvark in June of 2009.
"Our fans will be treated to an even more exciting and up-tempo style of basketball by combining the skills of Kei Igarashi, a representative of the Japanese national team, with the playing style of the Alvark. In the role of PG, we expect that Kei will unify the team and lead us to victory." (Head Coach Munakata; from the official website of the Alvark)
Big expectations are being placed on Kei.

In an interview conducted by Basketball-Zine, Kei described his goals as follows: "First, I want to continue to be selected as a member of the Japanese national team. In doing so, I hope to raise my play to a world-class level." Kei also gave the following statement when asked about his dreams for the future:
"I want to make basketball a major sport in Japan. One way to do this is to attract attention by winning the JBL championship. Also, similar to what has happened with soccer in Japan, I believe that basketball will naturally become a major sport if the Japanese national team becomes stronger. In the case of soccer, the public pays attention and provides support because the team has been successful. The same could also true of basketball. I believe that the first step towards making basketball into a major sport is for us to win. Another way to make basketball a major sport is to introduce our sport to a new audience. Therefore, I am trying to provide information about basketball directly and through the media."
17th place at the 2006 World Championships, 8th place at the 2007 Asia Championships, 10th place at the 2009 Asia Championships-as shown by this record, Japan has yet to achieve success at international tournaments. As stated by Kei, the atmosphere in Japan is such that the public will suddenly cry out in support if the national team becomes stronger and starts to win. This phenomenon can be seen in the cries of "Nippon!" that echo at matches involving the national volleyball team.
Kei is more than just good looks and speed. He is a floor general who is aiming his shot at the future of Japanese basketball.
His new uniform at Toyota has the number "1".

Photographs Offered By: JBL

Kei Igarashi
Born in May of 1980 in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture. Majored in Oriental History in the Faculty of Letters, Chuo University. Attended classes as much as possible and sought to achieve a balance between study and sports.
He has signed a contract with a professional basketball team.
Stands 180 centimeters tall and weighs 68 kilograms. A popular athlete who appears in fashion magazines, his personal data has also been released, such as his type-A blood and his shoe size of 27.5 centimeters.