By Ed Odeven
TOKYO (May 15, 2015) — In his nine seasons in the Basketball Japan League (bj-league), big man Jeff Newton won six titles and played in eight Final Fours.
The Indiana University alum’s all-around intelligence, defense, rebounding, rock-solid screens, alert passing and team-first play helped the Osaka Evessa, who captured titles in the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, and the Ryukyu Golden Kings, who won it all in the 2008-09, 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons, thrived year after year.
He didn’t need to take 30 shots a game to have a profound impact, though he was capable of scoring in bunches (50 points against Osaka in the Western Conference final in May 2009) and having jaw-dropping stats (a 40-point, 30-rebound effort earlier that season).
Newton revealed in an interview that he’s played his final game after not being brought back by the Golden Kings. It proved to be a bad move by the Kings, who failed to reach the Final Four for only the second time since they altered the course of their history by signing Newton and fellow superstar Anthony McHenry in 2008.
Here’s my report on Newton’s retirement and look back at his splendid career: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2015/05/14/basketball/bj-league/league-legend-newton-reveals-hes-decided-retire/#.VVXKpY7tmkp