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[Basketball] Korean Starts Pursuit of Dream at Maryland

Posted November. 14, 2008 08:15,   


As a middle school student in 2004, Kim Jin-soo practiced long hours in a basketball gym with no heat.

He said, however, that he never felt cold because of his burning ambition to enter the NBA.

Four years later, he will take another step toward his dream in becoming the first Korean to play for a Division I college basketball team in the United States.

Kim graduated from South Kent School in Connecticut this year and received a basketball scholarship from the University of Maryland. He will play for the Terrapins in their regular season opener Saturday against Bucknell University in Philadelphia after being ruled eligible to play Nov. 3.

In a phone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo yesterday, his voice was full of energy and vitality, saying, “The showdown is about to begin! I feel an itch to play as soon as possible.”

Kim is considered one of Maryland’s best outside shooters. The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun have expressed keen interest in the 6-7 forward’s play.

He has much strength in the middle, solid perimeter shooting, pressure defense, speed and solid playmaking skills.

Starting basketball in the fourth grade in Korea, Kim showed his shooting prowess at an early age. He moved to the United States to further his basketball career in middle school.

In high school, he averaged 14.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, which impressed university scouts.

College athletes in Korea usually concentrate on their sport, but those in America must also earn academic credits like other students. So Kim is busy juggling practice with his studies.

He starts his day by training alone from 7:30 a.m., and then takes classes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. He then attends team practice and takes English lessons from a university senior.

“I just fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow on my dorm bed, along with my three teammates with whom I share a dorm,” Kim said. “If I fail to get the required credits, then I must quit playing basketball. I have to do my best to study to survive.”

Maryland offers good facilities and environment for its basketball team, which also has staff to help its players focus on practice and training. The university’s arena is the Comcast Center, which has a capacity of 17,950.

College basketball’s three-point line has been extended one foot, but this should not be a problem for sharpshooter Kim.

“I have to increase my passing ability and with various options in man-to-man defense,” he said.