|No. 0 – Link Tochigi Brex|
|League||Japan Basketball League|
|Born||October 5, 1980|
|Listed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Listed weight||165 lb (75 kg)|
|Pro playing career||2002–present|
|2003–2004||Long Beach Jam|
|2008–present||Link Tochigi Brex|
Yuta Tabuse (田臥 勇太 Tabuse Yūta?, born October 5, 1980) is a Japanese professional basketball player. A point guard, Tabuse is 1.75 metres (5 ft 9 in) and 75 kilograms (165 lb). He is the first Japanese-born basketball player to play in the National Basketball Association, appearing in four games with the Phoenix Suns during the 2004–05 NBA season before he was waived. He is currently with Link Tochigi Brex of the Japan Basketball League.
Tabuse has enjoyed popularity in Japan since his high school playing days, when he led his school to three straight national championships, and has been referred to as "the Michael Jordan of Japan" for his celebrity status.
Michael Cooper, former NBA player and Tabuse's coach with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, said of him, "He automatically changes the game because of his quickness and distributing the ball. He's the best fundamental player I've been around in a long time," and Suns assistant coach Marc Iavaroni said, "I liked his energy, I liked his courage."
Tabuse, who was born in Yokohama and grew up in what he calls "a sports family", began playing basketball at the age of nine, because he was not good at baseball and not interested in soccer. He attended Noshiro Technical High School (能代工業高校 Noshiro Kōgyō Kōkō?) in Akita Prefecture, where he led his team to national championships all three years he was there and did not lose a single game.
After graduation from high school in March 1999, Tabuse chose to enroll at Brigham Young University-Hawaii for its English as an International Language program. He sat out his first two seasons at BYUH because of eligibility rules and played one season before turning pro. He averaged 7.6 points and led the Pacific West Conference with 6.6 assists.
After leaving the Toyota Alvark in 2003, Tabuse became the first Japanese national to play in the NBA's summer league, playing six games in the Rocky Mountain Revue for the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 4.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 13 minutes per game. Tabuse's first attempt at making it to the NBA made the headlines in Japan, and drew large media attention. On September 27 of that year, Tabuse joined the Denver Nuggets' training camp, but he was waived on October 24, before the start of the regular season.
In 2004, Tabuse joined the Phoenix Suns' training camp and made the opening night roster. He scored seven points in his first NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 3, 2004. However, he was waived by the Suns on December 16, 2004 and rejoined the Jam for the remainder of the season.
In 2005, Tabuse signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, but was waived before the start of the regular season. That fall, Tabuse appeared on a limited edition cover of NBA Live video game in Japan, even though he did not play a single NBA regular season game. That year, he was drafted by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League (D-League) and averaged 6.5 points and 4.0 assists in 34 games before he was waived on March 16, 2006.
In 2006, Tabuse decided to forsake an opportunity to play with the Japanese national team in the world championships that took place between August 19 to September 3 across five cities in Japan, and instead play with the Dallas Mavericks' summer league team. In November 2006, Tabuse was drafted into the NBA D-League with the 11th pick of the third round (35th overall) by the Bakersfield Jam. In November 2007, Tabuse was cut by the Bakersfield Jam before the 2007–08 season.
On December 8, 2007, Tabuse was acquired by the Anaheim Arsenal of the D-League, and he made his debut on December 9 against the Bakersfield Jam, scoring 4 points and adding 3 assists in almost 13 minutes of play. For the 2007–08 season, Tabuse averaged 4.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 39 games.
Return to Japan
In August 2008, Tabuse signed for Japan Basketball League side Link Tochigi Brex. Tochigi's head coach Mitsuhiko Kato was in charge of the basketball club of Noshiro Technical High School when Tabuse played for the school.
In April 2009, Tabuse was named to the 22-man roster for the Japan national basketball team. The team will play at the FIBA Asia Championship for Men. In May 2009, ESPN reported that Tabuse would leave the national team after receiving an invitation by the Dallas Quicksand to compete in their summer camp.
In 2010, his team won the JBL Basketball League championship game. Tabuse was named Finals MVP.
- According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Tabuse is listed at 5 ft 9 in but stands 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m). (link: BYUH alum Tabuse signs with Nuggets)
- "Yuta Tabuse, Will Blalock Acquired By Anaheim Arsenal". December 8, 2007. Archived from the original on June 1, 2014.
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- Fowler, Jeremy (December 22, 2005). "Japan's Yuta Tabuse is a whirlwind of speed and excitement on the court for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds". The Albuquerque Tribune. Archived from the original on March 17, 2006. Retrieved July 14, 2006.
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- Toth, Catherine E. (December 20, 2001). "BYUH's Japanese point guard learning about celebrity". The Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on September 6, 2005. Retrieved July 15, 2006.
- "Sports Briefs". The Taipei Times. September 28, 2003. p. 23. Archived from the original on December 5, 2004.
- Denver Nuggets Transactions 2002-03
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- "Clippers Set Opening Night Roster". NBA.com. October 31, 2005. Archived from the original on November 2, 2005. Retrieved July 15, 2006.
- "EA Sport Promotes Bench Warmer". Kotaku. October 5, 2005. Archived from the original on January 13, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2006.
- "2005-06 Transactions". NBA.com. Archived from the original on January 12, 2007.
- Walker, Richard (July 13, 2006). "2006 Summer Pro League - Day Five". DraftExpress. Retrieved July 20, 2006.
- "Jam cuts ties with fan favorite Tabuse". The Bakersfield Californian. November 17, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2007.[dead link]
- Arsenal 119, Jam 109 - Box score
- NBA Development League: Yuta Tabuse Career Stats and Totals
- "Arsenal players make summer league rosters". The Bakersfield Californian. July 7, 2008. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
- "2008 Orlando Summer League Rosters". ESPN. July 8, 2008. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- Nagatsuka, Kaz (September 1, 2008). "NBA trailblazer Tabuse signs for JBL's Brex". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on June 1, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
- "Tabuse, Orimo named to national team roster". The Japan Times. April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on June 1, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
- Associated Press (May 30, 2009). "Japan's Tabuse leaves national team". ESPN. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2009.