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Fierce Competition and Early Fatigue

Posted December. 06, 2004 22:55,   


Coach Jeon Chang-jin of the TG Sambo, a professional basketball team, feels sorry for his players these days.

The regular league has not even reached the midpoint, yet the players are completely exhausted. However, the players have no time for rest because the competition for this season’s championship is so fierce.

As the current leader in the league, as of December 6, TG Sambo has played 17 games. Out of a total of 1,404 goals made, 1292, or 92 percent, were by the “top five scorers” in the team. The average playing time of the top five players increased to 34 minutes from 32 minutes last season. In particular, Shin Ki-seong and Watkinson’s average court time was over 38 minutes for every match. Still worse, Kim Ju-seong plays even with his serious back pain. In spite of a painful effort by all the players of the team, TG was defeated by Incheon Etland Black Slamer, Anyang SBS Stars, Ulsan Mobis Phoebus, all of which are ranked somewhere near the bottom in the Korea Basketball League. TG has a total of five defeats this season. Exhaustion, physical pain, or unexpected defeats are every team’s headache.

All 10 teams in the league are troubled with similar problems. On the other hand, last year, four lousy teams in the first round failed to qualify for the round preserved for the stronger six teams, indicating a significant performance gap between the teams.

However, this year, the gap was considerably closed as the foreign players’ performance improved. Three teams which currently ranked in joint fourth place have only a single win lead over the four teams at the bottom. Moreover, the difference between the current leader and the bottom dweller is only five wins.

Seoul Samsung Thunder’s coach Ahn Jun-ho said, “I want to employ the sixth man more often, but every game is so intense until the end so it is not an alternative to have the major players on the bench.”

What’s worse is that professional basketball games are now played even on Fridays, meaning that the players sometimes have to participate in as many as four games in six days.

Exhaustion of important players can lead to injuries and worsened performances. So, “energizing the best players” is the key to more victories for this season.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com