Why you should watch Team USA vs. Team Japan

The 2019 FIBA World Cup USA Men’s team will play Rui Hachimura in the First Group Stage.

Upcoming NBA rookie will be playing for Team Japan during the 2019 FIBA World Cup. (Shuhei S/WikiCommons)

While the 2019 Men’s FIBA World Cup in China has already started, Team USA has yet to play their first game. Sept. 1, at 5:30 a.m. they play Team Czech Republic. Later in the week they face Team Turkey, and Team Japan, with upcoming rookie Rui Hachimura in the First Group Stage.

While a majority of these games will air early in the morning, for a college student it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to watch the games with prospect players on them. But the match that people should potentially watch is against Team Japan, who has an upcoming NBA rookie.

On Team Japan’s roster is former Gonzaga player and incoming Washington Wizards rookie, Rui Hachimura. Hachimura in exhibition games has averaged 27.0 points and 6.5 rebounds. Several fans may be interested in watching this game to see Hachimura’s talent and as a preview of what he’ll look like facing NBA talent.

Hachimura attended Mesei High School in Toyama, Japan where he was scouted by Gonzaga University. He would end up signing a letter of intent with them in late fall of 2015.

During his three years at Gonzaga, he would end up averaging 12.1 points, and 4.4 rebounds, forgoing his final year of college eligibility to declare himself for the 2019 NBA Draft.

The Washington Wizards selected him ninth overall, and he will have his first taste of NBA-like play on Thursday. On Team USA’s side, new Boston Celtic Kemba Walker should be a player to pay attention to. Walker, who is going to be playing alongside three Celtic teammates he’s not accustomed to playing with yet.

Walker, who is averaging 17.0 points and 3.2 assists in exhibition games is the team’s leading scorer. Seeing him play with upcoming teammates, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart would interest several fans and give them a peak at the upcoming season.

If the match between Team USA and Team Japan piques your interest, and you don’t have an early morning class, watch this game. Several college students should be interested in watching a fresh out of college, NBA prospect play against professional talent.

Team USA and Team Japan will face each other on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 5:30 a.m., on ESPN+. Highlights and interviews can also be found later that day on ESPN, House of Highlights, or the official FIBA YouTube channels.