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Wizards GM Tommy Shepard calls Rui Hachimura a ‘generational talent’ for Japan

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Japan is the last place you’d expect a top basketball player to emerge. However, Washington Wizards GM Tommy Shepard believes that the country now has a transcendental talent in Rui Hachimura.

The ninth overall pick of the 2019 Draft is currently playing for Japan in the FIBA World Cup and has a lot of expectations for him without even playing a minute of NBA basketball. However, Shepard believes that Hachimura will be able to live up to the standards set to him by Wizards fans.

The Wizards GM spoke with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst in China and expressed his belief in the Wizards rookie.

“Rui is a generational talent for that country, and he will bring enormous attention to the sport,” said Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard, who spent two weeks in Japan and China bonding with his first draft pick as the head of the team’s basketball operations. “He’s going to be a fantastic player for the Wizards in the future. He has the ability to be a factor at both ends of the floor, [has] a solid basketball IQ and is a great teammate.”

Hachimura spent three years with Gonzaga, and his last year with the Bulldogs was especially outstanding. He played 37 games and notched 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds on 59% shooting.

He will get plenty of touches in his rookie season regardless if Scott Brooks starts or benches him in his first NBA games. With John Wall still out of the team, he will be looked upon alongside Bradley Beal to try and produce for the team.

The number of Japanese hoops fans are on the rise with Hachimura’s debut season coming closer. They will closely follow the Wizards and see how the swingman fares against the league’s best.