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KBL Takes Pride in Pair of Foreign Players

Posted January. 20, 2005 22:44,   


The KBL pro-basketball team KTF is getting envious looks from other teams because it is on top of the league without any turnover of its foreign players.

This season, the league suffered from foreign player issues as teams fired as many as 15 of them. However, KTF`s Aron McGee (196cm) and Geib Minake (195cm) are standing tall on the court, and are being mentioned as the best foreign player combination in league history.

The two players are receiving high marks for their similar "multiplayer" style of play because each player is currently showing full capabilities in the post as well as from three-point range. Currently, as of January 19, Minake is averaging 23.5 ppg (seventh place) and McGee, 21.7 ppg (ninth place). Both players are in the "top 10" in points scored per game. The number of three-pointers made by Minake (62) and McGee (48) add up to 110 and represents 30 percent of the team`s total three-point success (297).

Since the post men can step outside the perimeter and make three-pointers at crucial moments, opposing defenders are often left stranded wondering who and how to cover their opponents. McGee leads the league in rebounds, grabbing 13.1 per game.

SBS commentator Lee Choong-hee commented, "The two foreign players on KTF display a powerful game and overwhelm their opponents," and added, "They are the source of confidence for their Korean teammates as they possess skills and high percentage accuracy."

What was the secret to recruiting these big-time players? KTF head coach, Choo Seung-il, started his recruiting project in the middle of last season by going through the Internet and acquaintances and even paid visits to NCAA camps. There was an occasion when he had to wait over 10 hours in the Rome airport when he missed a relay flight while wandering around Europe. When he entered Israel, he was falsely mistaken as a terrorist and had to undergo an investigation by the Israeli military police.

Other teams gave up on Minake due to his sanguine temperament and his record of playing from team to team, but head coach Choo, influenced by advice from other coaches in the United States, drafted Minake according to his own conviction.

Earlier, McGee wasn`t convincing enough for the head coach to put him in, but showed why he should have been when he poured in 19 consecutive three-pointers in a skills combine in the U.S. Choo commented, "If it weren`t for those two players, we wouldn`t have gone this far. I`m considering extending contracts with these players."

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com