SPOKANE, Wash. — Former Gonzaga standout Rui Hachimura was drafted Thursday by the Washington Wizards with the No. 9 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
On June 12, the NBA invited Hachimura to the NBA Draft Green Room, which is reserved for players who are expected to be drafted high in the first round. It is also the area closest to the podium, where NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces the draft picks.
Hachimura has a sweet slashing type of game but also has a smooth mid-range jumper that he has developed over the years.
His defense can still be questionable at times but he can make up for it with his length. He'll play small forward and power forward in the pros.
Hachimura posted a video on the Washington Wizards page, saying he's excited to be a Washington Wizard and has heard good things about Washington. He then spoke in Japanese to his fans, echoing his earlier sentiments in English and saying it would be a good time.
Hachimura is the first person born in Japan to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.
He is half-Japanese, half-Beninese.
Rui Hachimura wore a suit to the draft that honored his heritage; a tweet from Darrell Rovell of Action Network HQ showed the player with the lining of his jacket half an homage to Japan and the other half honoring Benin.
Rovell reported Hachimura recently signed an endorsement deal with the company Nissin. They make the well-known instant ramen Cup Noodles.
He will join Japanese tennis players Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka as brand representatives.
Samantha Kubota, WUSA9, contributed to this story.