Past, present, and future of Japan's point gods

fiba.basketball -- Jul 22
Maybe it’s how the point guards of Japan women’s basketball are trained. Maybe there’s some secret tradition that they pass on to each other, generation to generation. Maybe it’s just in their blood.

Whatever the reason may be, Japan keeps on churning out unbelievable talent at the guard position and the trend seems nowhere close to slowing down.

The line of superstar guards from Japan is obviously a long one, but let’s start with one of the best ever to have laced her shoes up for the national team.

After starring at the youth level, Yuko Oga made her Women’s Asia Cup debut back in 2001 only one week before she turned 19. She then proceeded to be one of the youngest ever to play in the Olympics for the Japan women’s basketball team in 2004. Four years later, she became the second Japanese player to play in the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury.

Oga played in six Women’s Asia Cups through the 2000s and early 2010s, winning five medals throughout that span. She had battled China and Korea fiercely in the early stages of her national team career and it was only until 2013 when Oga was able to secure her first Women’s Asia Cup championship in Bangkok.

The 2013 Women’s Asia Cup title was Japan’s first in over 40 years and most likely Oga would not have been able to experience that without the help of Asami Yoshida, another one of Japan’s legendary point guards.

Yoshida made her Women’s Asia Cup debut at just 19 years old in 2007 and has never failed to help lead Japan to a medal in the competition. Finally, after three straight Bronze medals form 2007 to 2011, Yoshida tasted the glory of winning it all in 2013 and didn’t look back.

She repeated as a member of the All-Star Five and a champion in 2015, before one last run in 2017 to complete the three-peat. Even in her last Women’s Asia Cup played, Yoshida was still doing what she does best with 6.0 assists per game (2nd among all players).

- fiba.basketball