Huntington Prep Academy has announced the acquisition of two Japanese players from Osaka, Japan to join their expanded program for the 2016-17 season. Rintaro Kaida and Kota Akama, both rising 10th graders, will have the opportunity to play with the Irish and have both expressed excitement for the future. Rintaro Kaida, known throughout the youth circuit in Japan, was an All Japan U14 member and highly recruited guard. At 6’1, Kaida has transitioned to the PG position, although he played the positions 1-4 in Japan. “If Rintaro can become effective as a point guard, he has tons of upside, considering his athleticism, shooting ability and overall instincts,” noted International Director Jerone Dodd Jr. Kota Akama made his debut in the states by joining the Brandon Hall Panthers for the 2015-16 season, where he started and helped his team reach the GISA State Tournament for the first time. “Kota is a very quick, shifty and tough guard. He’s not afraid to push the ball and go inside. He has a great heart and we are expecting good things from him as well,” Dodd added.
Both players visited the US prior to committing to go to school there and had the chance to train with BBall 101’s Dorian Lee, a world renown trainer in the Atlanta area. “It’s always good to work with Japanese talents because they usually tend to be very receptive to the training and instruction that goes along with it. Kota has all the tools needed in terms of ball handling to excel as a smaller point guard, so we focused mainly on the little things like creating enough space for shots and being able to break down the defender in front of him. I told Rintaro that he has the potential with the right training to be a top level guard. He is savvy and very aggressive, so I think he just needs to hone these attributes when learning the intangibles of playing the point guard position.”
Huntington Prep Academy has made an effort to recruit more international talent to its already bolstering program and have expanded their coaching staff by bringing in former alum Herve Aholode to lead the second team. Coach Aholode offered, “So far, I have been very impressed with both of our Japanese players. They work extremely hard and are nice guys in general. They will be a good example to the rest of the team of what a student athlete should be like. I am looking forward to seeing them in more game type situations soon.”