Future Watch: Rui Hachimura Rookie Basketball Cards, Wizards – The Washington Wizards have their sights set on the future. They have started the 2019-20 season with a 3-8 record and their chances of making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference are slim. All-Star point guard John Wall is out for the year. Their other All-Star, Bradley Beal, is trying to carry the team on his shoulders. Despite Beal’s impressive start, the Wizards are a bottom five squad in the East. However, there are bright spots on this team. Rookie forward Rui Hachimura has been impressive to start the season and the Wizards are excited for his future.
Hachimura was born in Toyama, Japan in 1998. He led Meisei High School to their second title in the All-Japan High School Tournament in 2013. In 2014, the team made a return to the tournament and Rui helped them win for a second straight year. He was invited to the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic where he scored nine points and grabbed five boards in the International Game. Shortly after, he signed a letter of intent to play college basketball in the United States with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Before heading to the states, Hachimura scored 34 points and grabbed 19 boards to help Meisei win their third All-Japan Tournament title.
In his regular season debut for Gonzaga on November 11th, 2016, Hachimura scored one point and grabbed three rebounds. He became the fifth Japanese-born player to ever play NCAA Division I basketball. Later that season, Hachimura scored eight points in a win over San Diego State to help Gonzaga win the WCC title. In the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Rui became the first Japanese native to ever appear in the NCCA Division I men’s tournament. As a freshman, he played in 28 games with averages of 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds over 4.6 minutes per contest.
Hachimura’s numbers increased across the board as a sophomore. He appeared in 37 games, drawing two starts. He averaged 11.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Heading into his junior season, Hachimura was named to the Preseason All-WCC Team. He opened the regular season in 2018-19 by scoring 33 points in a win over Idaho State. At the Maui Invitational, Gonzaga stunned number one ranked Duke thanks to 20 points, seven boards and five assists from Hachimura. He went on to be named most valuable player of the tournament. Rui finished the 2018-19 season as Gonzaga’s leading scorer with 19.7 points per game. On April 15th, 2019 he announced that he would forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2019 NBA draft.
Heading into the draft, the 6’8” power forward showed off an impressive 7’2” wingspan and 230-pound frame at the combine. Some evaluators questioned his NBA readiness, while some felt he was the perfect fit for a modern NBA front court. At Gonzaga, he showed a great ability to play both forward spots and create matchup issues for smaller wing defenders. Despite a low number of attempts from behind the arc, he shot 41% from three as a junior. His work as a defender would need to increase in the NBA, but he has the length and the athleticism to get it done. On draft night, Washington selected Rui Hachimura with the 9th overall pick. He became the second Japanese-born player to be drafted in the NBA after Yasutaka Okayama was selected by the Golden State Warriors in 1981.
In 11 games this season, Hachimura is getting plenty of run with 27.7 minutes per game. He’s sixth in scoring among rookies with 13.3 points and third in rebounds with 5.5 per game. Washington’s playoff hopes are quickly waning and the team will greatly benefit from Hachimura getting as much experience as he can handle. The Japanese native has plenty of support in his home country and that will continue to grow as he develops into an NBA regular. With John Wall returning next season, a Wizards core of Wall, Beal and Hachimura is something Washington DC basketball fans can be excited to watch in the coming years.
Collectors can find Hachimura in his Gonzaga Bulldogs uniform in Panini’s 2019 Contenders Draft Picks and Prizm Draft Picks. As a top draft selection, expect to find Hachimura among Panini’s entire 2019-20 catalog of NBA products including Hoops, Prizm, Certified, Absolute and many more to come!
Future Watch: Rui Hachimura Rookie Basketball Cards, Wizards – Stats as of 11/19/2019
Future Watch: Rui Hachimura Rookie Basketball Cards, Wizards – More Resources
- NBA.com Player Profile – Rui Hachimura
- Rui Hachimura – Secondary Market Pricing
- Follow Rui Hachimura on Twitter @rui_8mura
Future Watch: Rui Hachimura Rookie Basketball Cards, Wizards – Image Gallery
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