Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Akira Jacobs is first player from Japan to sign with Warriors

Akira Jacobs, a 6-foot-8 guard/forward from Yokohama, Japan, has signed a letter of intent to join the University of Hawai’i basketball team. He is the first player from Japan to play for the Rainbow Warriors.

Courtesy www.hawaiiathletics.com

Jacobs was born in Japan, then spent much of his youth in California, and returned to Japan in 2020. Most recently, he represented Japan at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Hungary.

Here is the official announcement from www.hawaiiathletics.com …

HONOLULU –  University of Hawai’i men’s basketball head coach Eran Ganot has announced the signing of Akira Jacobs. A native of Yokohama, Jacobs is the first ever player from Japan to join the Rainbow Warrior basketball program.

The 6-8 wing player grew up in California, but returned to his birth country of Japan at the age of 16. Since then he has traveled around the world, gaining valuable experience and showcasing his skills while playing for the Japanese national team and the NBA Global Academy.  

“Akira is an elite shooter that has showcased his talents at the highest levels on the international stage,” Ganot said. “He uses his poise and playmaking skills to make plays for his teammates and his positional height and athleticism allows him to be effective in transition. Akira is a mature and coachable young man who’s varying international basketball experience will be valuable asset to our program. We’re very excited to have Akira join the ‘ohana.”

Just this past month, Jacobs shined at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Hungary. He ranked fifth among all scorers at 17.0 points per game and added 5.6 rebounds while leading Japan to its best finish ever in the event. Jacobs scored 20 or more points in three games — including 20 in a quarterfinal matchup against Team USA — while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 42 percent on threes. A year prior, Jacobs was part of the Japanese national team that won silver at the FIBA U18 Asia Championship, thus qualifying for the U19 World Cup.

In November 2021, Jacobs made history by becoming the youngest player to appear in the first division of the  B. League, Japan’s pro basketball league. A little more than two months later he became the youngest player to score in a B.League game. 

Jacobs also made a major move by joining NBA Global Academy at the Australia Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, Australia. He became the first Japanese prospect to join an NBA Academy on a full-time basis. During that time he competed against top competition in Australia while also displaying his skills internationally, most recently at the the NBA’s G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas and the NBA Academy Africa’s showcase in Senegal.

Prior to returning to Japan in 2020, Jacobs played basketball at Redondo Union High and Dymally High in Southern California. As a sophomore, Jacobs was named CIF L.A. City Section Player of the Year.

Jacobs joins guards Tom Beattie (New Zealand) and Matthue Cotton (Yale) and forward Justin McKoy (North Carolina) in this year’s recruiting class. 

2023-24 Signees
Tom Beattie | 6-5 | 200 | Guard | Auckland, New Zealand | Rosmini College
Matthue Cotton | 6-5 | 200 | Guard | Voorhees, N.J. | Yale
Akira Jacobs | 6-8 | 200 | Forward | Yokohama, Japan | NBA Global Academy
Justin McKoy | 6-8 | 220 | Forward | Cary, N.C. | North Carolina

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