Isaac Fotu heads to Japan

Tall Blacks forward Isaac Fotu has announced that the next stop on his successful professional career will be Japan.

Fotu has signed for Brex Utsunomiya that play in Japan-B1, the top league in the country. The club were 2021 regular season champions boasting a 49-11 record before being defeated in the Championship Grand Final Series last month.

“After seven seasons playing in Europe I’m very excited about my move to Japan. I know basketball is becoming very popular in the country so I’m happy to be part of it,” says Fotu.

After three years at the University of Hawaii headed to Spain to play with La Bruixa d’Or Manresa in Spain for his first professional assignment in 2015.

Fotu played a further two seasons in Spain at Zaragoza before signing with German club Ratiopharm Ulm for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons.

That was followed by two seasons in Italy, initially with Treviso and last season 2020/21 with Venezia.

A veteran of 65 New Zealand Tall Blacks appearances Fotu has had the pleasure of playing in Japan on a couple of occasions, including 2019 prior to the FIBA World Cup in China. Those visits helped shape his decision to sign for Brex Utsunomiya.

“I have played there twice for the Tall Blacks an I’ve enjoyed the place, the people and the culture on each visit.”

There is one familiar face Fotu will encounter during the Japanese season – former Tall Blacks head coach Paul Henare is coach of opponents Shimane Susanoo Magic.

Meanwhile the other Fotu siblings are also busy with their careers.

Brother Dan, also a Tall Black, is in his senior year at St Mary’s College, California. Sister Ella, a Tall Ferns guard is training with Harbour Breeze ahead of the 2021 women’s Sal’s NBL and youngest brother Jacob recently won a bronze medal at the AON U17 National Championships playing for North Harbour.