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Korean Point Guards: From Prodigies to Polished Players

Posted December. 11, 2007 03:09,   


The first Korean Basketball League champion Kia boasted a point guard who was a magician on the court: Kang Dong-hee (41). Although he was already in his thirties at the time, his radiant skills illuminated the court. His exceptionally high-arching three pointers were impressive, and he scored more than 15 points per game, giving him the reputation of an offensive guard as well.

His successor, “computer guard” Lee Sang-min (35), fully blossomed in his era. He led Hyundai to two consecutive championships, passing to Johnnie McDowell and Jackie Jones, and running a fast break that opposing defense could not handle well.

After the millennium turned, Orions guard Kim Seung-hyeon (29) appeared on the main stage. Kim played with the best foreign player the league has known, Marcus Hicks, and won a championship ring in his rookie year. His dazzling dribbling techniques wore down opponent’s defenses, and his exquisite assists were made as if he had eyes on the back of his head.

If Kang, Lee and Kim had been born with endowed talents, Yang Dong-geun and Joo Hee-jeong were self-made latecomers who joined the top tier. Yang contributed to Mobis’s ascent to two consecutive regular season champions, while Joo is leading the current KT&G quest for a title.

Yang Dong-geun introduced the new concept of “power guard” play and began dominating his fellow guards with stamina and adhesive defense.

Joo is having his best season ever this season. Lee Sang-min, Kim Seung-hyeon and Shin Ki-seong (KTF) are currently stumbling along, while Joo is currently averaging 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and eight assists (his season high in his 10 seasons). He even overcame his weakness in shooting accuracy. Joo is an all-round player and has managed seven triple-doubles in his career, ranking him number one along with Hyun Joo-yeob (LG) among Korean players.

League-leading Dongbu lost two games during the weekend after their guard Pyo Myeong-il suffered a post-injury trauma.

SK rookie guard Kim Tae-sul leads in assist average with 9.3, but still lacks dominance. SK’s foreign players are not playing up to standard, either. Mobis is suffering from Yang Dong-geun’s military service, and the Orions’ Kim Seung-hyeon is out with an injury. Both teams are down in the rankings as a result. This season’s team rankings can pretty much be inferred by looking at their guards.