Many of the women of the Seattle Storm have been playing abroad lately, so we haven’t been able to see them in the preseason festivities. One international player, Ramu Tokashiki, is back and working with the team for another great season. Last year was her rookie year with the team and she played pretty impressively, improving steadily throughout the season and quickly becoming a fan favorite not only because of her skills but also because of her fun personality and readiness to embrace the people of Seattle. It is obviously her second home.
All of that said, she is still working on her English and has a translator with her at all times. When asked about how much she enjoys being in Seattle, Tokashiki says, via her translator, “It’s a really great place to be. There are a lot of Japanese people here, and the fans are great. They’re very passionate, and I really like that. I’m very excited and looking forward to this season.” Some of her favorite things to do here are drink coffee at Starbucks, see Mariners games and explore the city. She has really enjoyed meeting more Japanese people in Seattle, which helps her feel at home.
While she is a huge player in Japan, Tokashiki isn’t as key on the Storm. Seattle Storm Head Coach Jenny Boucek explains, “She’s a mega, mega star over there, and she comes over here and she’s just playing a role. And she’s able to assimilate. Some of these things haven’t taken shape yet, but her attitude is whatever the team needs. That’s really impressive, given her level of stardom where she comes from.” She says that Tokashiki fits in with the team very well and the entire staff has great respect for her.
Tokashiki thinks that her value on the team is largely in her defense, but she adds that she has been working very hard on her speed and skills in order to become even stronger during the off-season. After making three MVPs and six championships in Japan, it’s not hard to see how far she’s come along in her efforts! The 24 year old player also plays for the Japanese Olympic team, where she led her team to a title at the FIBA Asia Championship.
It is great to see Tokashiki back in action with Seattle. We look forward to seeing what her next season with the team is going to be like.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia