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TAKUMI SIMON MAKING THE BEST OF PRO LIFE

Rookie season full of experiences

By Jay Leon Guerrero

GSPN visited Takumi Simon in Japan as he continues his journey as a professional basketball player. The 22-year-old is the lone rookie for the Shinshu Brave Warriors whose home court is at the White Ring Arena in Nagano.

Simon graduated from St. John’s High School where he was known as ‘Curry’ Simon, won an IIAAG championship in 2018. After high school, Simon completed his studies at Santa Clara University while still in contact with Guam National Team head coach EJ Calvo and his teammates.

The 6’2″ sharp shooter helped Team Guam defend its gold medal in the Pacific Games and lifted Guam to victory over Taiwan during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. In the game versus Taiwan, he drained 4-of-6 three-pointers to spark a comeback off the bench for Team Guam. 

After graduating from Santa Clara and representing Guam in the process, Simon got the call to play in Japan. Since then, Simon has made the most of his rookie season and the Brave Warrior fans have grown to embrace their young star.

Takumi Simon gets shots up from his hot zone during halftime warmups of the Shinshu Brave Warriors game. (photo by Cam Santos)

Highlights:
Takumi found consistent playing time after a couple of starters got injured. He made the most of his playing time and scored 15 points against Akita and 14 points against Kyoto late last year. Simon also shoots 86 percent from the free throw line.

“It was good playing time for me. I think I averaged about 13 points during that stretch of games (in December),” said Simon.

The Guam son is making his way up as a fan favorite with his jerseys and other merchandise on sale at the entrance to the stadium. Simon laughed and was humble about it, but he appreciated the fans for supporting him: “It’s crazy to see my own section of merchandise out there.”

From the seventh grade till today, Simon wears the #30 jersey number. Steph Curry was and still is his favorite player. Simon improved rapidly in his high school years under the tutelage of St. John’s coach Fred Peters.   

Simon said his role is the same as when he played basketball in middle school to his professional career, shoot the basketball. 

Last week, the Brave Warriors went against the league’s top team from Chiba. “They are the top team in the league, they only have four losses for the season,” said Simon. 

The hype for the game was high and the Brave Warriors drew an attendance record of 6,014 spectators against the Chiba Jets. The Jets are first place in the East division, the Brave Warriors are third in the central division. 

Coming into the arena, giant posters and flags of the main players from Shinshu were displayed in front of the stadium and inside at the entrance, Simon headlined the banners. 

During the game, Simon entered and swished his first three-point attempt, much to the delight of the Japanese crowd.

The Brave Warriors ended losing the game 89-70 and a second game a day later, 71-70 to the Jets. Simon was disappointed in the losses but his team is still in the playoff hunt with a 16-16 record. 62 total games will be played for the season which ends in May. 

“It’s my first year in the league and the next player has 4-5 years experience, professionally, over me,” said Simon. Simon said Year 1 is a learning experience and there is still much room to grow and improve.

“I’m grateful for all the coaching staff here, especially coach Michael Katsuhisa,” said Simon. Simon said he wants to stick with the staff and their training program for as long as he can.

“At the end of the day, I get to play basketball for a living. My life is pretty cool right now,” said Simon. 

Shinshu will travel next week to Nagoya for a pair of away games and will return back home for four games against Kawasaki and Hitachi. 

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COMING SOON …

4th Quarter Sports

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