The Japan Times shines the spotlight on the former Knicks and Bulls center Bill Cartwright, who’s spending his first season out of the NBA for the first time since being drafted by the Knicks in 1979. He’s back in his element in the gym—just on the other side of the Pacific Ocean—leading Osaka Evessa to a dramatic turnaround since his arrival in Japan in January:

Bill Cartwright has rapidly transformed the Osaka Evessa into a much-improved basketball team.

The numbers clearly show that: 12 wins in 18 games, and seven straight victories under his tutelage. The Evessa were 5-19 when Cartwright arrived in Japan in January, and he held his first practice two days after the Jan. 20 All-Star Game. Look at the Evessa season this way: B.B.C. (Before Bill Cartwright) and A.B.C. (After Bill Cartwright took over).

The former Chicago Bulls coach has instilled confidence in his players, given them much-needed direction and stopped the once-mighty franchise from sinking like the Titanic.

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Step by step, the former University of San Francisco All-American center has expanded the team’s playbook in the past two months. He admitted the squad is a work in progress.

“Our philosophy doesn’t change what we are trying to do, it’s just making a different play,” he said, describing the process. “And then it’s up to them whether they make the shot or not. I can’t shoot it for them.”