Posted August. 07, 2009 08:19,
Hur Jae coached the KCC Egis to the Korean Basketball League championship last season thanks mainly to towering 7-feet-4 (223 centimeters) center Ha Seung-jin. Hur hopes to do the same with the national mens team in the Asian Basketball Championships.
He got off to a good start yesterday. Korea crushed Japan 95-75 in the first qualifier of Group A in Tianjin, China.
In June, Korea beat Japan, 68-58, to claim the East Asian Championship Games, and did the same in the William Jones Cup last month, 84-81. Ha sat out both tournaments due to an ankle injury.
In his first game for the national team yesterday, Ha took the offensive by wearing a pair of red shoes. Though he played just 14 minutes, he scored 12 points and had four rebounds. Japan constantly double teamed Ha but failed to contain him.
Coach Hur is usually pumped up for games against Japan, as shown in his playing days. In 1994, he started at point guard for Korea at the Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan. There, he led the team to its most lopsided win over Japan, 101-63.
As if aware of their coachs will to win, his players pushed Japan hard from the beginning of the game. Yang Hee-jong scored a game-high 23 points and Oh Se-geun, the lone collegian on the team, added 14.
Korea will face Sri Lanka in its second qualifier today. The Philippines, which is also in Group A, routed Sri Lanka, 115-31, and will play Korea Saturday.