Kanazawa pro hoops team signs 3 displaced Ukrainians

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Three newly signed players from Ukraine attend a press conference in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

KANAZAWA — The Kanazawa Samuraiz, a third division club in the pro basketball B.League, have signed three players displaced from Ukraine, becoming the first team in the league to sign displaced Ukrainians. All three have experience playing in their home country.

The three players — 27-year-old point guard Ihor Boiarkin, 27-year-old center and power forward Oleksandr Antypov and 22-year-old shooting guard Yakiv Titov — were introduced at a press conference held at the team’s home practice gym in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday and arrived by plane earlier that day.

“I want to contribute to the team’s strength that comes from their unity,” said Boiarkin, who has played for the Ukrainian national team. “I want to play wildly by utilizing my height,” said Antypov who is 2.03 meters. Titov has played for the national 3×3 team.

When asked about their experiences regarding the Russian invasion of their home country, one commented “I was frightened by the sudden roar of aircraft,” while another mentioned that he “left the country filled with terrible memories.”

After leaving Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion, the three had been staying in various neighboring countries. After arriving in Nanao, they will reside in housing provided by the club and join the team’s training session before the regular season starts in October.