• May 29, 2023

Former KT Durham wins Japan Finals MVP—first Ryukyu title since COVID-19 scare

Former KT Durham earns B.League Finals MVP honors after leading Ryukyu to the title.

The Ryukyu Golden Kings defeated the Chiba Jets 88-73 in Game 2 of the B.League 2022-2023 Season Finals at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on March 28.

Ko Flippin (21 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists) and Jack Cooley (19 points, 15 rebounds) led the way in the win, while Alan Durham (13 points, 7 rebounds) was named Finals MVP. With wins in Games 1 and 2, Ryukyu won the championship for the first time since the B.League’s inception in the 2016-2017 season.

The reigning MVP is no stranger to Korean fans. He joined Busan KT (now Suwon KT) midway through the 2019-2020 season as a replacement foreign player for Al Thornton. He’s not a big man at 6-foot-5, but he’s known for his strong under-the-basket play and ability to get his teammates open.

In his third game in the KBL, on January 29, 2020, against the Seoul Samsung, Durham recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. KT went 6-2 after Durham’s arrival, and the team has been on the rise. It has paved the way for a leap from mid-table to the top of the standings.

However, the league was abruptly suspended that season due to the spread of COVID-19. Fearful of the pandemic, Durham, along with teammate Byron Mullins, requested to be released from their contracts and left South Korea in a voluntary exile format. His KBL numbers were 11.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 23 minutes per game over eight games.

Durham then headed to Japan, where he played for the Niigata Albirex BB in the 2020-2021 season. From the 2021-2022 season, he played for the prestigious B.League team Ryukyu. After helping Ryukyu to a Finals runner-up finish last season, he repeated this season, averaging 15.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 27 minutes and 21 seconds in 59 regular-season games 메이저놀이터.

In the Finals against Chiba, Durham’s presence was even more pronounced. He dominated the paint in Game 1 with 26 points and 14 rebounds in 27 minutes. He filled the void left by Cooley’s five-foul ejection in the fourth quarter and scored a series of crucial points in overtime. He continued his dominance in Game 2, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds and was named Finals MVP.

Having qualified for the East Asian Super League (EASL) Champions Week as the B.League Finals runners-up last season, Ryukyu will make another appearance in the EASL next season. If they are drawn in a group with Anyang KGC or Seoul SK, Durham will face a KBL team as an opponent.

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