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Basketball Prince from the Street

Posted January. 28, 2003 22:35,   


With his full well-developed figure, this good-looking guy seems to be nowhere near basketball, the violent sport. His unusually fair skin also does not seem to go well with the sport.

Kim Dong-woo, a 23-year-old forward of his team and about to graduate from Yonsei University, is a heartthrob in the basketball court. On the 28th, he showed up at the basketball rookie draft held in Seoul KyoYuk MunHwa HoeKwan, Yang-jae, Seoul and wore a 400,000-won-grey suit that he ordered a few days ago, thinking it was expensive. With all his hair combed back and the great stature of 2m, the athlete was just as good as a fashion model.

The good-looking sportsman, first to be called on by Ulsan Mobis Automons, has made a triumphal entry to the professional stage as a best rookie.

“I am shocked. My heart was beating and I never knew this day would come.”

His personal history as a basketball player is very unusual. He used to play basketball in his neighborhood. When he was a first-grade in Sang-sin Middle School in Seoul, he played basketball as a hobby during the lunchtime or after school in the clouds of dust.

As the strong player on the streets, he was persuaded by a physical education teacher when he was a third-grade, and transferred to Myoung-ji Middle School in order to be a professional basketball player .

Afterwards, he grew 5㎝ a year through his days at Myoung-ji High School and Yonsei University and came to have abilities of powerful jumps and a fine sense of shooting.

The left-handed athlete is good at slam dunks. He was a hero in the university’s winning the championship last year. In the basketball season at the beginning of this month, he captured three crowns including the best player award, leaving the campus with honor.

Kim is an idol of fans in the field of college basketball that has lacked star players. ‘Beat,’ his fan club, has about 1,600 members. He usually receives more than 10 letters a day from his fans, thanks to his attractive appearance and distinguished skills. Even today, about 20 girls came to the draft site, following him everywhere he went.

It is wondered if the way he plays basketball will work in the professional field. Choi Hee-am, coach of Mobis, who will again coach him in the professional team as well, said, “He will be a great shooter. He has a great stature. But he is so fast to have advantages in outline defense.”

“I am glad to make a good beginning as a professional player. I’ll start with the hard work like defense and rebounds. I’d like to play basketball with a brain,” Kim said.

In the meantime, Ok Bum-jun, a junior guard of Sungkyunkwan University, was the second to be singled out to Korea Tender. Moreover, he was the first to enter the professional field without graduating from the college. Park Sang-ryul, a junior guard of Mokpo University was the sixth in the second round to be called on by SK Bigs and the second professional player from the second league of college basketball.

Sang-Ho Kim Jong-Seok Kim hyangsan@donga.com kjs0123@donga.com