The defensive connoisseur Yuta Watanabe is a Japanese professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Watanabe is popularly known for his decent mastery on the defensive end.
Moreover, Watanabe is the first Japanese-born student-athlete to ensure an NCAA Division I basketball scholarship. Further, he was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.
In addition, he was also the fourth Japanese born to secure the Division I basketball player of all all-time.
Indeed, his resilience, hustle, and basketball IQ are the defining traits during the games. Also, Watanabe has been praised for being continuously in motion and always on both courts’ ends.
Discover more interesting information about the Japanese professional basketball player Yuta Watanabe.
Before that, look at the Quick Facts illustrated below.
|Full Name||Yuta Watanabe|
|Birth Date||October 13, 1994|
|Birth Place||Yokohama, Japan|
|Nick Name||The Chosen One|
|Father’s Name||Hideyuki Watanabe|
|Mother’s Name||Kumi Kubota|
|Siblings||Yuki Watanabe (sister)|
|Age||28 years old|
|Height||6’9” (2.06 m)|
|Weight||98 Kilograms (215 lb)|
|Professional Career Teams||
|Jersey No.||18 (for Toronto Raptors)|
|Active Years in Basketball||2018-Present|
|Marital Status||Not available|
|Position||Small Forward/ Power Forward|
|Social Media||Twitter, Instagram, Facebook|
|Last Update||January 2023|
Yuta Watanabe | Early Life & Family
The Japanese defensive star Watanabe was born on October 13, 1994, in Yokohama, Kanagawa, in Japan. Watanabe he grew up in Miki, Kagawa. Yuta holds Japanese nationality and belongs to the Asian ethnicity.
Addressing his family, his family has a vast history in basketball. His mother is Kumi Kubota; she played basketball for the Chanson V-Magic and Japan’s women’s national team.
Likewise, his Father, Hideyuki Watanabe, played professionally for the Kumagai Gumi Bruins. Watanabe’s sister, Yuki, had played with the Aisin AW Wings.
In his childhood, he considered Los Angeles Lakers his favorite NBA team and adored Kobe Bryant as a famous athlete.
Age, Height & Weight
Born on October 13, 1994, Watanabe is 28 years old.
Likewise, his height is 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m), and he weighs about 215 lb (98 kg). Indeed, Watanabe has maintained an athletic body and strength.
High School Career
Yuta Watanabe enrolled at Jinsei Gakuen High School in Kagawa. There, Watanabe headed the basketball team to the runner-up position of the All Japan High School Basketball Tournament.
In 2013, he attended St. Thomas More Preparatory High School in Oakdale, Connecticut.
Likewise, Watanabe averaged 13 points and six rebounds outside his native country in high school. He assisted the team in surpassing a 26-8 overall record and helped to reach the National Prep Championship game.
In January 2014, Watanabe scored 12 points against Suffield Academy in his first appearance in the annual National Prep School Invitational. Similarly, he scored 20 points and six rebounds in a 70-61 win against Canarias Basketball Academy from Spain.
In the meantime, he was named to the National Prep School Invitational All-Tournament Team. Also, he earned New England Preparatory School Athletic Council, Class AAA First Team All-League honors.
Additionally, he earned “the Chosen One” by The Japan Times.
Therefore, Watanabe was rated a 77- three-star recruit by ESPN Recruiting Nation and valued with a three-star rating by Scout.com.
In 2014, Watanabe attended George Washington University as a freshman.
Watanabe became the first Japanese-born player to be provided an NCAA Division I basketball scholarship. Following that, he was only the fourth to play college basketball to play at a decent level.
After enrolling at George Washington, his featured profiles were published by renowned newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post.
In November 2014, Watanabe made his debut for George Washington and averaged eight points, seven rebounds, and a block in 20 minutes of action against Grambling State. Indeed, it was the team’s largest 92-40 win since 1999.
Thus, in December 2014, Watanabe was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, where he averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds and helped the team to victory in the 2014 Diamond Head Classic crown.
Similarly, he set career-high 21 points and seven 3-pointers against Massachusetts on March 7. At the same time, Watanabe earned his second Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honor.
Therefore, he became the first player to earn multiple Rookie of the Week awards in a similar season since Lasan Kromah amassed three in 2009-10.
In November 2016, Watanabe scored his first double-double and added 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 77-75 win against Siena.
Further, he became a second-leading scorer at George Washington, averaging 12.2 points per game. Thus, he was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team.
Yuta Watanabe scored a career-high 13 rebounds against Rider in November 2017.
Likewise, he scored a career-high five steals against Morgan State on November 29. Then, Watanabe scored career-high 31 points in a 72-56 victory over Fordham in the final game.
Thus, he was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Indeed, he became the first Colonial to win the reward.
Moreover, he earned the Atlantic 10 All conference Third Team and Atlantic 10 All-Defensive player of the year.
In summary, Watanabe’s career with George Washington was remarkable; he was rewarded and appreciated for his abilities and performance.
Watanabe was undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, then played for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2018 NBA Summer League.
Later, he signed a two-way deal with Memphis Grizzlies and NBA G League, the Memphis Hustle. He made his debut in October 2018, averaging 2 points and 2 rebounds off the bench against Phoenix Suns.
Therefore, he became the second Japanese player to play in the NBA after Yuta Tabuse. Moreover, Watanabe spends most of his season playing in the G League with Memphis Hustles.
In the NBA G League, Watanabe scored 14.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 assists in 32 of 33 games.
In January 2020, Watanabe scored a team-high 28 points on 12 of 19 field goal shooting and 2-of-4 from three and added 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists, and 2 steals in the Memphis Hustle’s 130-126 victory against Iowa Wolves.
Therefore, Watanabe was named Midseason All-NBA G League for the Western Conference.
Watanabe signed a contract with the Raptors to recruit their pre-season roster on December 19, 2020.
He made his debut for Toronto Raptors on December 31, recording four rebounds, an assist, a block, and a steal in nine minutes of action in a victory against the New York Knicks.
Then, in January 2021, he scored a career-high 12 points on 80.0 percent shooting from the field from off the bench and added 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals against the Sacramento Kings.
On February 9, he suffered a left ankle injury during a workout. Therefore, he returned on February 18, averaging 2 rebounds and a block against Milwaukee Bucks.
In April 2021, Watanabe scored career-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 2 of 4 from three and added 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block in a 113-102 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Consequently, Watanabe missed about 18 games of the season due to a left calf sprain. Hence, he made his comeback and averaged three points and two blocks in 14 minutes of action against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Later, in December 2021, he scored a double-double and added 26 points and 13 rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
National Team Career
At 18, Yuta Watanabe made his senior debut for Japan at the 2013 East Asia Basketball Championship and assisted the team in winning the bronze medal.
During that time, he had scored 22 points and 14 rebounds in a 101-53 win against Macau.
Similarly, at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, he scored 5.2 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in four games and helped the team achieve ninth place.
Therefore, Watanabe was named to the 12-man roster for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where he scored 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists.
Accordingly, he was selected to compete at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. He averaged 15.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.
Awards & Achievements
The following are achievements earned by the Japanese player:
- Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year (2018)
- Third-Team All-Atlantic 10 (2018)
- Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team for two consecutive years (2017, 2018)
- East Asia Basketball Championship in 2013 Men’s Basketball- Bronze
Yuta Watanabe | Relationship Status
Aside from his magnificent achievements on the court, many NBA enthusiasts must wonder about his personal life.
Yuta Watanabe has great fanfare for his looks and amazing physique.
However, the Japanese Yuta Watanabe has not been rumored or linked with anyone. Maybe he is not in a relationship with anyone or has kept his relationship confidential.
Moreover, his personal life is a mystery box to his fans.
Social Media Presence
The outstanding basketball player Yuta Watanabe has many followers on social media platforms.
Thus, the given number of followers is as of February 2022.
Net Worth & Salary
One of the popular basketball players, Yuta Watanabe, has a net worth of $1 million-$5 million.
Similarly, his estimated salary in 2020-2021 is $1,762,796. Watanabe is making 138.86 percent more than in 2020-21.
Further, his 2019-20 salary with Memphis Grizzlies was $79,568.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Yuta Watanabe speak English?
The forward of the Toronto Raptors, Yuta Watanabe, is now fluent in English. However, he struggled with English earlier, but he always spoke the language of basketball well.
What is Yuta Watanabe’s position?
The Japanese professional basketball player Yuta Watanabe plays small forward and power forward positions for the Toronto Raptors.