Dontae Jones, a 194cm, 30-year-old monster mercenary of the SBS Stars, has recently been using his spare time to analyze the KCC Egis, watching recorded games on a VCR over and over again.
Jones and the SBS Stars will face KCC in Jeonju at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday for the first time since the first-round draftee of the talent-ridden 1996 NBA draft joined the team last month. SBS has won 14 consecutive games since then, which is a new record in the Korean Basketball League`s (KBL) 10-year history.
Tomorrow`s game is very important for both Jones and the SBS Stars. KCC Egis, last season`s KBL champion, has two foreign players on its roster, with one of them Charles Minlend, who was considered the most dominant foreign player in the league before Jones joined SBS and was named the best foreign player of the 2003-2004 season.
SBS is chasing KCC by only one game, and in order to finish in second place in order to advance straight to the playoff semi-final, SBS has to defeat KCC by more than a 14-point margin and also defeat LG Sakers in its final regular season game.
"KCC is definitely a good team, and Minlend is a superb player," Jones said, "I have to focus thoroughly in order to shake KCC`s chemistry."
SBS head coach Kim Dong-kwang and KCC head coach Shin Sun-woo are also busy forming strategies for the coming game. Kim said, "KCC will double team Jones and use defensive stopper Byun Chung-un. Minlend is reportedly injured, but I expect him to be in the game. I will focus on stopping Egis fast break points and its patterned offense in order to win the game."
"Minlend injured his knee, and I will respect his opinion in terms of playing against SBS," Shin said, "Since we are playing our final home game of the season, we will deliver everything we have." KCC, 17-3 over the last 20 games, will automatically clinch the semi-final if it defeats SBS tomorrow.
Choi Hee-am, a basketball analyst for MBC, said, "It is difficult for any team to defeat SBS right now, and Minlend will also have trouble against Jones. But SBS has to defeat KCC by more than 14 points in order to go straight to the semi-final, and that could be a major burden for the players."
More than 1,000 tickets were already reserved in Jeonju, three times more than normal. Expecting that many fans will be unable to get tickets, KCC plans to set up a large screen outside the stadium to show the last home game.