An interview project to ask B-League and W-League players to look back on their high school days, the 12th is Takaya Sasayama from Rakunan High School in Kyoto Prefecture. How did Sasayama, who started playing basketball under the influence of his father, grow up and go on to the prestigious Rakunan High School in Kyoto? We will deliver it over the first part and the second part.

Top player high school days: Takaya Sasayama "I thought I'd do my best if I had a chance"

The arch-conscious practice is alive at any moment

  • First of all, please tell us how you started playing basketball.

Sasayama It’s completely influenced by my father. My dad was a minibus coach and I’ve been sticking to the gymnasium since I was in kindergarten. I joined the club when I was in the first grade of elementary school, but since the number of team members was small, I heard that I had been playing games a little before that. I don’t remember much, but …

  • Do you remember the first match you played?

Sasayama: I don’t remember the first match, but I remember the first shot I made. I think it was a no-mark layup when I was in the first grade of elementary school. Before that, I dropped it several times, and I remember finally deciding how many times.

  • Did you have any experience in national competitions when you were in elementary school?

Sasayama I participated in all minis (national mini basketball tournaments) for the first time when I was in the sixth grade. I’m from Mie prefecture and grew up in the country, so I didn’t have a chance to go to the city. One of my goals was to play basketball at Yoyogi No. 2 Gymnasium after participating in the national competition. So when I first stood there, I was deeply moved, and I was very happy.

  • What is your role in the elementary school team?

I was allowed to do Captain Sasayama . There is a minibus, but the position is from 1st to 3rd.

  • Did you have any difficulty in the part where the coach is a father?

Sasayama It was very difficult at first. Until about the third grade of elementary school, it was very difficult to change from a director to a father. When I got angry during practice, I really hated the inside of the car I was going home with. However, when I was in the 4th grade, my dad told me, “Let’s set the boundary firmly when it’s over,” and it made me feel better, or even when I was angry, I talked in the car. Can now be done.

  • Are there any players you were longing for at that time?

I used to look at Sasayama Allen Iverson (former Philadelphia 76ers and others). I felt like I couldn’t try to imitate it.

  • Junior high school went to the local Shiroko junior high school. What kind of team was it?

It feels like everyone on the Sasayama minibus went up as it was. The first graders were a team that seemed to be just running outside, but after being recognized as active in the first graders’ tournament and playing games, I started to enter the gymnasium for a while, but most of them. I have the impression that I was running outside.

  • You also experienced the national tournament in junior high school.

Only two first graders can be included in the designated strengthening players in Sasayama Prefecture, but they were selected. When I was in the second grade, I participated in the Junior All-Star. I participated in all the events held in Yamagata, but I lost in the qualifying. Takahashi Takahashi of the Yamagata team who won the championship was a different dimension. The height was big, the body was ready, and only one person was like a professional. I’m still on good terms with the Yamagata team. The rest is Ryo Tawatari (currently Hiroshima Dragonfly ). It was really fast, and I was very impressed with the skill. It wasn’t the level that there was an upper level, but I often thought that it came out like this (laughs).

  • What was your playing style when you were in junior high school?

When I was in Sasayama Junior High School, I was a player who hit three. As for shooting, you’ve been hitting quite a bit since you were a minibus. There was a ring in the yard of my house, but I set the ring a little higher than the minibus with the intention of making my father aware of the arch. I think it’s still alive and I’m conscious of raising the arch.

  • After graduating from junior high school, I went on to Rakunan High School. Please tell us the reason why you chose the prestigious Rakunan High School as your destination after leaving Mie.

Sasayama The adviser teacher at that time was from Rakunan, and when I was in junior high school, I often went to Rakunan for practice games. My teacher advised me that I would definitely be disappointed, and at first I thought, “I’m like that …”, but if I had a chance, I decided to go on to try my best.

  • When Sasayama entered the school, there was Makoto Hiejima (currently Utsunomiya Brex ) in the third grade, and he was winning the Winter Cup for the second time in a row. Did you keep up with the high school level immediately after enrollment?

Sasayama I was divided into Team A and Team B, but at first I was Team B, and it went up and down quite a bit. It was in the middle of the second grade that I became established in Team A. Mr. Kobayashi (Haruta), the guard I’m working with now, came out at the start, and it felt like he would come out a little with the jumpsuit. It’s a natural team to win, and I was very nervous that I had to win. One mistake affects Team A and Team B, so I couldn’t help myself in practice.

  • Rakunan has a thorough “pass and run” style. Did you get used to that style?

It seems that there is a difficulty in the simpleness of running with the Sasayama pass. There were many parts that I had to use my head, such as the course to run and how far I would run, so at first I was thinking a lot and playing.

  • Are there any Rakunan specialties?

Sasayama’s most famous practice is to run around Toji, a World Heritage Site. I run a couple of laps around Toji, then go inside and run a little more, but there is quite a distance. I didn’t like it because I wasn’t good at long distances. The captain goes to ask the teacher about the practice menu of the day, but when he says “Toji”, he feels like “Toji?” Everyone runs quite seriously, so I could barely keep up.


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