Hina Suzuki, sister of standout South Georgia Tech guard, Kanna Suzuki, has one upped her sister in an amazing show of will power and clutch performance. Hina, a senior at Osaka Toin High School in Osaka, Japan, was the shortest player on either team by 10 cms, but that didn’t stop her. In Curryesk style, Suzuki poured in 8 three pointers and 27 points down the stretch in a double overtime thriller in Tokyo. With only 1 turnover the entire game, it was clearly an MVP performance. Although Suzuki was not honored as one of the top 5 players, to the dismay of her family, supporters and anyone watching the game, she was humble and dismissive when asked about it. “I really don’t care about that, what is important to me is that my team won.” Hina averaged around 15 points for the national tourney and shut down all premiere guards in her path.
Politics may rule the day in Japan Basketball, but the proof is in the pudding. While Suzuki may have been overlooked due to her size, even in Japan, it is a common theme that her sister Kanna has encountered more than once. Kanna made the leap to high school in the US in 2012, which provided an opportunity for Hina to train in Atlanta back in 2013. Although Hina did not follow in the footsteps by coming to the US to play ball, she clearly stood in the imprint of her older sister, who achieved All-State honors at Brandon Hall High School and went on to become the Freshman of the year in the GCAA (Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association). Often overlooked at AAU tryouts and even college workouts, Kanna always somehow rose to become a central player on every team. Hina has done the same in her home country and has achieved the highest honor in high school with her performance.
Part of the irony for the Suzukis is the bitter sweet reality of Kanna’s injury versus Hina’s victory. Kanna abruptly endured a season ending injury before the season could even get started in a pre-season scrimmage. To make matters worse, the incident occurred in front of college coaches. Crossover Exposure had a chance to speak with Kanna regarding her situation and her sister’s triumph, asked about how she felt being incapacitated while cheering her sister on. “I was more nervous watching her game than when I actually play on the court because I know how hard she works and to become the #1 team in Japan is a huge thing to accomplish. But I was believing in her I knew she can bring a win to the team no matter what. I wish I could watch that game at the arena but I was crying in front of the laptop anyways lol. I was literally praying and sending her energy from half way around the world. I’m more than happy to see her be a part of becoming the #1 team in the nation.” When asked about whether she and her sister have ever considered playing professionally and what the future outlook holds, Kanna replied “Yeah I think so. Both of us are always the shortest player on the court but if she and I have a chance to play professionally I think we would consider it.” Before that can happen, Kanna must get healthy and Hina must get through college, where she has been recruited by many of the top schools, but has yet to officially announce her decision. The road to recovery may be long and arduous, but one thing is for certain, if its a Suzuki, its possible. Crossover Exposure salutes the Suzuki family and looks forward to their continued successes.