The Japan Basketball Association on Monday named 12 players, led by Phoenix Suns guard-forward Yuta Watanabe, for upcoming games in the run-up to the FIBA World Cup.

Japan men's national basketball team forward Yuta Watanabe speaks to reporters at the National Training Center in Tokyo on Aug. 14, 2023. (Kyodo)

Those 12, also including University of Nebraska shooting guard Keisei Tominaga and Chiba Jets point guard Yuki Togashi, will represent Japan at the World Cup tipping off on Aug. 25, head coach Tom Hovasse revealed.

Japan, ranked 36th in the world, will take on Angola on Tuesday, France on Thursday and Slovenia on Saturday, all at Tokyo's Ariake Arena, before facing 11th-ranked Germany on the opening day of the World Cup, to be co-hosted by Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Japan men's basketball national team head coach Tom Hovasse speaks to reporters at the National Training Center in Tokyo on Aug. 14, 2023. (Kyodo)

Japan has also been drawn with No. 24 Finland and No. 3 Australia in a challenging Group E. The top Asian finisher of the World Cup will qualify for next summer's Paris Olympics.

"We have to play for the three (who were left out of the final selection), too," Watanabe said. "We have to feel the responsibility of carrying the hopes of the nation and play one game at a time to advance."

Four of the 12 World Cup members played at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 -- Watanabe, Togashi, Yudai Baba and Makoto Hiejima.

In late June, Rui Hachimura said he will not participate in the tournament to focus on his upcoming fifth NBA season, with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Japan's roster:

(PG=point guard, SG=shooting guard, SF=small forward, C=center, PF=power forward)

Yuki Togashi, PG, 167 cm, Chiba Jets

Yuki Kawamura, PG, 172 cm, Yokohama B-Corsairs

Makoto Hiejima, SG, 191 cm, Utsunomiya Brex

Yuta Watanabe, SF, 206 cm, Phoenix Suns

Yudai Baba, SG, 195 cm, unaffiliated

Yudai Nishida, SG, 190 cm, Seahorses Mikawa

Josh Hawkinson, C-PF, 208 cm, Sunrockers Shibuya

Keisei Tominaga, SG, 188 cm, University of Nebraska

Shuta Hara, SF, 187 cm, Chiba Jets

Soichiro Inoue, PF, 201 cm, Koshigaya Alphas

Hirotaka Yoshii, SF, 196 cm, Alvark Tokyo

Koya Kawamata, C, 204 cm, Shiga Lakes

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