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The Top 5 D-I Asian Hoopers in NCAA

Asian D-1 Hoopers
(Taylor Johnson/ Lincoln Journal Star)

As we noticed Team USA’s stumbling and the emerging threats from other continents during the FIBA World Cup in 2023, it’s safe to say the global pattern of basketball is silently changing. Being lured by the wild and fierce NCAA game, one of the most competitive stages worldwide, a remarkable trend showcasing that many international players played for American colleges and aimed at the NBA. Among the group, there are some outstanding Asian players endeavoring for minutes and etching their names to the program.

The NCAA basketball season is approaching the final of its regularity. Let’s pick the best five Asian players from different D-I teams so far and shed light on their backgrounds.


Keisei Tominaga (Japan, Nebraska, PG)

While taking his fifth-year eligibility, Keisei Tominaga has become an indispensable piece for Nebraska, which is striving for the NCAA tournament. Situating as a three-point shooter, Tominaga had put up a .376 percentage for three while averaging 14.1 points per game, offering a good weapon for Huskers to win essential games. When Huskers encountered then-No.1 seeded Purdue on January 9, he scored 19 points with five from beyond the arc, helping his team to upset the top national team since 1982 of the program’s history.

Before turning into the new year, Tominaga experienced a short-term fluctuation in scoring due to the unstable three-point shooting, making two of nine attempts in the last two games of December 2023. Coming to the first two games of January, he came back with 28 and 17 points, lifting up his average field goal to .500 on threes. 

Born and raised in Japan, Tominaga found his talent in shooting and scoring during high school, leading the school team to third place in the national tournament. He then played two NJCAA seasons for Ranger College after landing in the US. In 2021, Tominaga blasted out in his second season with the Huskers, tallying 13.1 points and 0.400 on threes per game. He was the only collegiate player to be playing for the Japanese national team for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. With his momentum from beyond the arc, Japan historically earned a spot for the Paris Olympics in 2024, including onslaughting Lauri Markkanen’s Finland. 


Mike Sharavjamtz (Mongolia, San Francisco, PG/SG)

(Photo/San Francisco Magazine)

Following the trend of basketball globalization, we love to see a “Micheal Jordan” coming from Mongolia. After spending his first collegiate season (2022-23) with Dayton and testing the waters of the NBA, Mike Sharavjamtz decided to withdraw from the 2023 NBA Draft and transferred to San Francisco. 

Sharavjamtz then earned more minutes with the Dons, having started for all games so far. As a 6 ‘8 guard, Sharavjamtz has good ball handling and shooting with a tremendous size, which fills up his weakness of physicality. Defensively, his coverage beyond the perimeter can restrain opponents’ shooting attempts. With a 10-game double-digit performance, Sharavjamtz has become a solid starter for all games (27) so far, making the Dons a rising contender for the tournament.

Being the first NCAA D-I player in Mongolia, Sharavjamtz was a typical and successful product of the American training scheme. He was named a four-star recruit by ESPN and 247Sports, becoming the only Asian player to appear at the 2022 Nike Summit. In the international term, he represented the Mongolia men’s national under-18 basketball team as the captain and completed the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, finishing in sixth place for the team. He finished the tournament with the eighth-most points with 37 in just five games.

Parsa Fallah (Iran, Southern Utah, PF/C)

Parsa Fallah had an interesting transition: from an Iranian professional player with Kouchin Amol to an NCAA player with Southern Utah University, giving him the maturity and understanding of the ball. After experiencing an adaptive season with the Thunderbirds, the 6 ‘9 power forward developed himself as the team’s top choice to attack the rim. On December 9, 2023, he put up a career-high 29 points, including 26 in the paint.

Dating back to his early games with Kouchin Amol, Fallah showcased his sense on board, putting him as the top-average rebound of Kouchin Amol in the 2020-21 season (7.3). He also took advantage of post-up scoring and shooting. He represented the Iranian national team for the FIBA U19 World Cup, dominating with team-first efficiency, average points, and rebound (ranked 6th in the tournament).

Fallah received the offer from Southern Utah after he led his country and took 12th place in the event. Due to the issue of getting his visa to America, Fallah eventually made his season debut in 2022. By now, he has etched himself an essential piece for the Thunderbirds with a set of outstanding average stats producing (13.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG).

Southern Utah cruises to win over over Idaho State with career night by Fallah – Cedar City News

(Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News)

Yuto Yamanouchi-Williams (Japan, Portland, PF/C)

Yuto Yamanouchi-Williams is a Japanese-American player from Aizuwakamatsu, Japan, currently playing for the University of Portland. This month, he made his team debut on Jan. 6 against Pacific after missing the first chunk of the season due to an undisclosed injury, posting a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Two weeks later, he dropped a season-high 17 points with six boards in a loss to Santa Clara.

The 6 ‘10 forward played for Ribet Academy (Calif.) and helped the team win the district championship in 2019. Even though Yamanouchi missed most of his last two years of high school due to injuries and the COVID-19 outbreak, he was selected for the Japan U19 national team and played with the team in the 2021 U19 World Cup.

After high school, Yamanouchi-Williams delayed entering college for a year and joined Earth Friends Tokyo Z of the Japanese B-League. In 2022, he enrolled at Lamar University, where he averaged 6.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the season. Notably, he showed excellent rebounding ability and was a threat in the paint during his freshman season, posting five double-doubles in a single season. One of those came against Southeastern Louisiana University on Jan. 6 last year, where he pulled down an astounding 19 rebounds while scoring 14 points.


Xinyi Li (China, Manhattan, PF)

Xinyi LI (CHN)'s profile - FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2023 -


Standing out from a competitive pool, Xinyi Li was selected for the first phase of Joe Tsai’s Basketball Scholarship Program in 2019 and was given the opportunity to study and play in the United States as a student-athlete.

In order to help his NCAA D-I aspirations, Li decided to transfer to St. John Bosco High School (Calif.) in his fourth year after spending the first three years at Wasatch Academy (Utah). During his one semester with the high school team, the 6 ‘9 Beijing native averaged 10.4 points per game and helped the team reach the finals of the state championship.

After playing with his national team in the U19 World Cup last year, Li announced his commitment to Manhattan College in August. In the team’s exhibition against Saint Joseph’s, Li played 23 minutes and scored 13 points. On February 2, he put up a career-high 12 points without missing a shot in 10 minutes. Besides being adept at driving inside to the basket with his size, Li is also able to pull out for threes, recording .393 per game so far. 

In the most recent update from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), Li was selected into the list of talent pool as a Chinese overseas player.

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