Japan star Baba joins Melbourne NBL side

Melbourne United have signed Japan national Yudai Baba ahead of the 2020-21 NBL season, with the guard making an impression at last year's world cup.

Japanese star Yudai Baba will join Melbourne United for the 2020-21 NBL season after impressing at last year's FIBA World Cup.

The 24-year-old guard has most recently played in the NBA's G-League for the Texas Legends after he was signed in late 2019 to the Dallas Mavericks.

He played 41 games for the Legends, before the G-League season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baba shone at the World Cup, including an 18-point showing against Team USA, while he has faced the Australian Boomers a number of times.

Signed as a Special Restricted Player and classified as a local player on the Melbourne roster, coach Dean Vickerman was excited to have Baba on his books.

"Baba is going to bring something different to our club that we haven't seen before," Vickerman said.

"He's a unique talent, but we're really encouraged by what we've seen. I think he'll really have an impact in our league."

Currently in Tokyo, Baba said he had followed the NBL for a number of years and was aware of Melbourne's record.

"I know of Melbourne United's excellent reputation and the record of coach Vickerman," he said.

"I am looking forward to playing in such an elite league and bringing a piece of Japan to Australia."