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Dante Jones Returns to Korea

Posted September. 13, 2005 07:33,   


KT&G’s Forward Dante Jones (31).

Dante Jones led his team, SBS, last season to a historical record of 15 straight wins and started the “Dante Syndrome.” He came back to Korea last week for the first time in five months to start training at Anyang for the new season starting next month with his new team, KT&G, which has bought SBS.

Jones went to Itaewon on September 11 on his off day to buy new basketball shoes for his new team. However, Jones, who left a lasting impression on the court, could not shop because of all the fans who recognized him and surrounded him with requests for pictures and autographs.

“I was happy to see that people remembered me. I will repay them with great performance.” Jones debuted in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) as a substitute and became popular with his flashy plays. Last season, he averaged 29.4 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists.

Will he be able to play just as well this season? Last season he played in 16 games, but this season he will have to play 54 in the regular season alone. He also has to compete against other highly skilled imported players from other teams.

Jones said, “Last season was just a preview. This season will be the real thing. There will be a lot of competition from other talented players, but I have a lot more to show.” He is very enthusiastic to the point that he has regurgitated after training very hard five hours a day with the team.

KT&G coach, Kim Dong-gwang said, “Jones does not rely on physical strength when playing, so his physical stamina will not be a problem.”

Jones, who has acted as a leader, will now have to learn to work together with the newly acquired point guard Ju Hee-jeong from Samsung and new foreign players. Ju Hee-jeong has won a championship before, and he believes his experience will be of great benefit to the team.

Jones stated that everything was much more comfortable this time around and added, “I will try hard to show improvement day by day in order to reach the top. I believe that is the way to repay the love and support shown from all my fans.”

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com