In the ongoing FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifiers, the Japanese National Basketball Team are on a tear. They are on a four-game winning streak, after starting 0-4, beating perennial Asian powerhouse Iran and arguably the best team in the tournament Australia in the process.

A big reason for the complete turnaround has been the play of Japanese-American forward Rui Hachimura. The Japanese team has yet to lose a game since Hachimura's debut back in the first round of games. Unfortunately for Japan, he likely won't be able to play in their remaining games in the qualifiers as he has to attend his obligations back in the US.

Hachimura, whose mother is Japanese and father from the West African country Benin, will be coming back for his junior season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs under coach Mark Few. Last season, he averaged 11.6 points a and 4.3 rebounds per game on 20 minutes of play. In the second round of the NCAA tournament against Ohio State, he had his breakout performance scoring 25 points on 9 of 11 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.

He is currently projected to be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony predicts Hachimura to be a lottery pick going No. 12 in his 2019 NBA Mock Draft. When that happens, he will be only the second Japanese-born player to play in the NBA after Yuta Tabuse.

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All of this hasn't come easy for Rui Hachimura. When he first came in to Gonzaga, he had to learn not only a new basketball system but also learn English. As assistant coach Tommy Lloyd tells the Gonzaga Bulletin:

“When we first brought Rui here, I reminded people that this guy probably has more obstacles and further to go than any guy we’ve ever brought in here,”

“And he’s passed it with flying colors.”

What makes this more impressive was that basketball was not his first sport. He grew playing soccer, baseball and running track. He only played basketball by the age of 13 and quickly learned that this was the sport for him. His physical attributes made the transition very easy for him and his game quickly developed.

Gonzaga discovered his talents when they had an opportunity to watch his performances in the 2014 U17 World Cup where he averaged a tournament-high 22.6 points per game, grabbed 6.6 rebounds and blocked 1.7 shots a game.

He capped off his tournament with a  a 25-point showing against Team USA, a team which had future NBA players in Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Caleb Swanigan and Ivan Rabb. Also, he led Japan in the 2017 U19 World Cup with averages of 20.6 points, 11 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Looking to the future, he has set some goals for himself and his teams telling Gonzaga Bulletin:

“I want to go to the Final Four again with the team, go to the NBA and play in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,”

He will be looking to draw inspiration to achieve his goals by watching NBA influences like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and Jabari Parker who all possess very similar physical attributes and skill sets as him. He also wants to inspire his own countrymen to pursue their basketball goals. As he told Fox Sports:

“I want to show the Japanese people they can play in America,”

“It’s good for us.”

Remember Rui Hachimura's name.