NAGANO, Japan - Former Whittier College basketball player Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) has signed to play professionally with the Shinshu Brave Warriors in the Japanese city of Chikuma. Kurihara is headed to Japan after a four-year career with the Poets in which he started almost every game he played in, racked up nearly 1000 points and was selected to the All-SCIAC 2nd Team his senior year. Highlighting his career was a pair of game winning shots down the stretch to get the Poets into post-season contention. During his time at Whittier Kurihara was a vital part of two post-season playoff berths.
"Our Poet basketball family is so proud of Louis," explained Head Whittier College basketball coach Mark Jensen. "He came to us as a young, fresh-faced 17 year old. We threw him into the starting line-up against Division I Cal State Bakersfield in his very first game as a freshman, he immediately hit his first three shots and he never looked back. Now he's pursuing a dream as a professional player in the country of his heritage – pretty amazing stuff. We couldn't be happier for him and wish him all the success he deserves – he's worked hard for it."
In early summer Kurihara was invited to Japan to try out for a junior national team that would be competing throughout Asia in the William Jones Cup. That experience afforded Japanese teams the opportunity to see him up close and would eventually lead to him signing with the Shinshu Brave Warriors, coached by Michael Katsuhisa. Kurihara becomes the second Poet player in recent history to play professionally in Japan joining Abe Morabi ('03) who has enjoyed a long and successful career playing in Japan as well.
"I' am grateful to be able to continue something I love doing and I really appreciate my family, friends, and the basketball program's I've been a part of," Kurihara stated. "My experience with the basketball program at Whittier is something I will take with me wherever I go. This program helped me grow as an individual both on and off the court. Although there were ups and downs, I have no regrets and am thankful for all the people I have met through the college."