Ranger, TX – August 8, 2019
If we could cash in life experience for dollars right now, Kota Akama would be a wealthy young man. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Mr. Akama has quite a story and vision, foregoing all of his high school career in the comforts of his own country, to pursue basketball in the US. The unassuming 5’8 point guard from Honshu was termed ‘the kid from Osaka’ or as one of his t-shirts may say ‘Just a Kid from Osaka.’
Kota started his journey after a couple of trips to the US, visiting Atlanta amongst other cities with the travel squad, Gymrats. Long drawn alliances between the moving forces and former teammates T Okada and Crossover CEO J. Dodd and the proven success of Kanna Suzuki convinced Akama to take his first chance in Atlanta at Brandon Hall School, a boarding school competing in GISA. After a year and uncertainty due to coaching changes and competition levels, Kota along with teammate, Elijah Ewing, jumped ship to the prominent Huntington Prep.
Heading up the newly formed and 2nd team, Akama spent two years in the shadows of big-time recruits and soon to be NBA players, such as Keldon Johnson of the San Antonio Spurs. Life in Huntington was much different than Atlanta, to say the least, but Akama was able to focus on his primary goal, getting better and playing the game he loves. After his Junior year, Akama decided he’d hit his ceiling in Huntington and decided to return to his second home in Atlanta, this time with Furtah Prep. Furtah was able to win its 2nd consecutive state title with Akama providing valuable minutes split between starting and coming off the bench.
After Summer camps and several tryouts, Akama has found the grace of Ranger College and Coach Billy Gillespie, securing a position on the squad for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Ranger College finished the season ranked #5 in the country and has been ranked as high as #2. Ironically, this year will also feature another Japanese national on the squad, the well-known Winter Cup star Keisei Tominaga. When asked what he thought about Tominaga’s presence along with the team having a Japanese trainer, Akama replied “It doesn’t matter who is on the team. My goals are the same to be the best I can be. It will be cool to meet Tominaga though and share the experience.”
“Kota is one of the most likable people I’ve ever met in my life and I know a lot of people,” laughed CEO J. Dodd. “I think he is just coming from a culture that places high value on work ethic and devotion to goals. Kota speaks English well and I’m sure he will have a positive effect on the team’s culture and be an asset overall. I love the fact that he never gives up and he will surprise you with his quickness and vision.”
One thing is for sure, Just a Kid from Osaka has got his work cut out for him in a game he’s not supposed to exceed in according to the stats. When asked if he still believes he can achieve his goals, Akama rebuts “Whether or not I reach my dream in basketball, I will do my best and I can be happy with that. The journey is always most important.”