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Wizards’ Rui Hachimura scores 35 points in Japan’s exhibition win over New Zealand

Rui Hachimura

For those who are still doubting whether or not Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura is the real deal, then perhaps his recent performance for Japan should prove that the 21-year-old is indeed a very promising prospect.

Hachimura caught fire on Monday night, as he led Japan to a 99-89 victory in an exhibition game against New Zealand.

The 6-foot-8 forward accounted for 35 points (on 11-of-15 shooting), two three-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, and a couple of steals in just 27 minutes of action.

Speaking to Joel Fitzpatrick of Kyodo News, the youngster tried to play down his tremendous performance, and instead, chose to focus on how he intends to lead the team in the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China.

“We got off to a good start and went from there…I want to lead this team,” said Hachimura. “I’m just happy to be back in Japan after a while for these friendly games.”

Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was in attendance during Hachimura’s outstanding display, and the veteran coach acknowledged the fact that the future is bright for this youngster.

“I think he’s going to be a heck of a player, the NBA is a physical game, a tough game. He’s got a great body for the NBA,” Casey, who is in Japan to coach at a clinic and was at the game as a spectator, told Kyodo News.

Hachimura was selected ninth overall by the Wizards last June, following a noteworthy junior campaign with Gonzaga, averaging 19.7 points (on 59.1 percent shooting), 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks per contest.