There are currently five Tar Heels playing in Asia and they have been making a lot of noise lately – including game winning shots from Jawad Williams and Isaiah Hicks. Also, James Michael McAdoo on the front of Haagen-Dazs in Japan… yes really.
Here is the latest update on the Tar Heels in Asia, with their latest statistics and highlights.
Follow @britishtarheel on Twitter for updates on Tar Heels Overseas.
Jawad Williams – Levanga Hokkaido (Japan)
Jawad Williams had a great career in Chapel Hill, including a National Championship season in his final year. Since then, Williams has travelled all over the world playing professional basketball, including some time in the NBA with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
Williams is the most experienced Tar Heel still playing professional basketball overseas and now finds himself playing for Levanga Hokkaido in Japan. At 38 years old, Williams has started 31 of 41 games… he is not slowing down!
Levanga Hokkaido currently have a record of 13-31 and find themselves 17th in the Japanese B1 League (the top-tier of Japanese Basketball). In Williams’ most recent performance, he dropped 14 points in a loss to Hitachi Sun Rockers (against a familiar face, you’ll see who further down). Although it was the game before his last that Williams grabbed ALL the headlines.
Levanga were tied 81-81 away in Osaka, with 10.9 seconds left in the game, Levanga brought the ball up the court and kicked to the the corner… ready to pull the trigger, Jawad Williams for the win! Levanga Hokkaido won 84-81.
There is still more games left in the 60 game season, but due to a new rule for B.League 2020/21, there will be no relegations this year, therefore this is less of a worry for Levanga Hokkaido. I am sure Jawad and the team would like to finish the season strong still.
I highlighted this in the last update, but they are too good to not shout about again. Jawad is also a Children’s Book Author and you can purchase his books here.
|TOYOTA ALVARK (JAPAN)||2017/18||19.7||8.8||3.39||1.0|
|TOYOTA ALVARK (JAPAN)||2018/19||23.6||10.42||4.31||1.27|
|LINK TOCHIGI BREX (JAPAN)||2019/20||14.1||7.16||2.89||0.58|
|LEVANGA HOKKAIDO (JAPAN)||2020/21||26.0||10.15||4.41||1.59|
Isaiah Hicks – Seoul Samsung Thunders (South Korea)
Isaiah Hicks is having himself quite a season in the Korean Basketball League. Hicks is in his second season playing overseas, after his first season in Russia. He is now residing in the capital of South Korea and playing for the Seoul Samsung Thunders.
Hicks is leading Seoul in PPG, RPG and BPG. Over the last ten games, he has been averaging just over 18 points a game and is the go-to on the offence. None more so, than in the 91-90 victory over Incheon, where Isaiah picked up 22 points including the game winner in the final seconds.
Seoul currently have a 22-27 record in the Korean Basketball League and there are 5 games remaining of the 54 game regular season schedule. Seoul are pushing for a playoff position and I personally do not see Hicks slowing down anytime soon with his performances.
|AVTODAR SARATOV (RUSSIA)||2019/20||28.3||12.86||6.71||2.0|
|SEOUL SAMSUNG THUNDERS|
James Michael McAdoo – Hitachi Sun Rockers (Japan)
James Michael McAdoo has had quite the professional basketball career since his time at UNC. He is a two-time NBA Champion and a NBA D-League Champion. During the 2016/17 season, JMM played an important supportive role at the Golden State Warriors with 65 games under his belt that year and ending the season as an NBA Champion. Sadly, he did not get the same role in Philadelphia and drifted through the ranks in the G-League before heading over to a new challenge.
McAdoo has been playing the past few seasons overseas in Italy, Serbia, Turkey and now Japan. McAdoo has spent a lot of this year providing strength off the bench for Hitachi Sun Rockers and averaging over 10 PPG and 6 RPG. He recently went up against Jawad Williams of Levanga Hokkaido with JMM scoring 10 points off the bench with a highlight film alley-oop jam. Williams scored 14 points for Levanga, despite Sun Rockers taking the win.
A fun story about James Michael McAdoo, he was recently seen on the lid of a Haagen-Dazs ice-cream in Tokyo. Yes, really!
The Hitachi Sun Rockers who play in Tokyo, currently have a record of 29-16 and are 5th in the Japanese B-League 1. The top 8 teams go into the playoffs, so hopefully the Sun Rockers can secure their spot as the regular season comes to a close.
|PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)||2019/20||11.6||8.0||3.0||0.56|
|HITACHI SUN ROCKERS (JAPAN)||2020/21||21.3||10.82||6.67||1.48|
Justin Knox – Wonju Dongbu Promy (South Korea)
Justin Knox played in Chapel Hill for one season, after gaining his degree at the University of Alabama. Knox is playing in his tenth year overseas and has been all over the world playing professional basketball. He is now playing in South Korea for Wonju Dongbu Promy (2019/20’s Co-Regular Season Champions).
Wonju Dongbu Promy currently have a record of 20-29. It will be a pretty tough ask for them to reach a playoff spot, with the top six teams entering the KBL playoffs.
Knox has been able to light it up this season, with one game he recorded 33 points. Knox’s most recent game he scored 14 points and had 8 boards in a loss to bottom of the league, Changwon LG Sakers.
|PALLACANESTRO TRIESTE (ITALY)||2018/19||17.1||10.42||4.29||0.68|
|WONJU DONGBU PROMY (SOUTH KOREA)||2020/21||23.8||14.47||6.94||0.69|
Kennedy Meeks – Changwon LG Sakers (South Korea)
Kennedy Meeks is another National Champion (wow, we have a lot of those!) and his block is in the NCAA 2017 Championship Game is one of my favourite memories as a Tar Heel. Since leaving Chapel Hill, Meeks headed off to the G-League for a couple seasons, before taking his talents to Asia.
Meeks played two seasons in Japan at SeaHorses Mikawa and Levanaga Hokkaido. Last season, Meeks averaged over 20 and 10 for a whole season, BIG NUMBERS! Meeks then signed for Seoul Samsung Thunders, in leaving Japan and playing in South Korea. He was joined by long-time friend and fellow Tar Heel, Isaiah Hicks, before being traded in January to his current team, Changwon LG Sakers. Meeks has not played a game since February 12th.
I recently spoke with Kennedy and he let me know he is currently back home in North Carolina.
|AISHIN SEA HORSES (JAPAN)||2018/19||32.0||14.68||11.0||1.05||17|
|LEVANGA HOKKAIDO (JAPAN)||2019/20||34.1||20.97||10.87||1.23||21|
|SEOUL SAMSUNG THUNDERS (SOUTH KOREA)||2020/21||15.1||6.81||6.00||0.31||1|
|CHANGWON LG SAKERS (SOUTH KOREA)||2020/21||10.7||7.25||4.25||0.5||0|
Honourable Mention: One of the greatest… some may say THE greatest ever Tar Heel, Tyler Hansbrough has been over in China for the past few seasons. Psycho-T did not play the 2020/21 season in the Chinese Basketball Association. His last team was the Sichuan Blue Whales, but Hansbrough is not under contract with them anymore.
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You can also read the latest monthly update on the Tar Heels in Europe from last weekend.
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