Following in her father’s footsteps, American born Maya McArthur has also taken up basketball professionally and is now part of the young Japanese side competing here.
Maya’s father Eric McArthur played professionally in Japan for nearly two decades. He received a Japanese passport in 2000 and represented them at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. Although Japan finished sixth, Eric impressed with his gritty performances. Prior to his career in Japan, Eric played for UC Santa Barbara, a college-level basketball team in the NCAA league in the United States.
Although the 16-year-old has never seen her father play, she is thankful for his invaluable inputs.
“Yes, he’s been really supportive and I really appreciate it. He’s given me some advice. So far it’s been supportive, like asking me to do my best against all odds or play for Japan, you’re representing a country,” said Maya.
Maya took part in the trials for the United States team for the FIBA U-16 Americas Championship 2017. She made it to the final 37 players in the USA trials in May but failed to make the final 18.
“Yes, I was hoping to (make it). To be honest, before I went I didn’t even know what I was getting into. It was my first time. So I was just trying to get as far as I could. I was really happy I could get into the final 37,” said Maya, whose mother is Japanese.
That helped Maya during her initial interaction with her national team-mates.
“It was really good. I can speak fluent Japanese and language was not a problem. Some of the slang was a bit iffy for me because I speak Japanese only to my mom. But everyone was really nice. At first, it was a bit hard to get the chemistry going because they were shy and I was shy. But we are close now,” she said.
Maya on her first appearance at the FIBA under-16 women’s Asia Cup, has added much needed steel to the team. In the two group matches so far, Japan hammered Thailand 115-37 and overpowered Hong Kong 113-36.
Maya, who is based out of Dana Point in California, dreams of winning an NCAA tournament in future.
“Playing in America, my ultimate goal is to get to college with a scholarship, hopefully play the Division 1) level and make or win an NCAA tournament,”
All her focus now, is on winning the ongoing championship. “Of course, dream right now is to win the Asia Cup,” she concluded.