‘The year that could have been the best draft ever’ This is the evaluation after the 2001 KBL rookie draft. Of course, there were several players with exceptional talent in the draft at the time. Quantitatively, it leaves a little to be desired, but in the so-called ‘Big 3’, the weight is clearly felt.
Song Young-jin (44‧198cm), a “Man of Trust” who made a name for himself as one of the invincible Chung-Ang University “Twin Towers” along with Kim Joo-seong, left-handed dual guard “Mazinga” Jeon-soo (44‧180cm) with explosive attack power, and genius point guard on the university stage. ‘Magic Hand’ Kim Seung-hyeon (44‧175cm), who earned a reputation for being the best, and was evaluated as being able to rank first overall depending on the team… , all three were undoubtedly big fish that could make a big difference to a team’s strength.
Despite his tall stature, Song Young-jin was considered the best power forward in college because of his athleticism and mobility as well as his excellent shooting ability. At that time, Chung-Ang University had many outstanding players such as Lim Jae-hyeon, Hwang Jin-won, Shin Dong-han, and Jo Woo-hyeon, but the background that they were able to sweep the university stage overwhelmingly was due to the influence of Kim Joo-seong and Song Young-jin, who were holding on under the goal.
Kim Yu-taek, who was called ‘double mast’ with Han Ki-bum during the heyday of Chung-Ang University, said at the time of the interview with ‘Basketball Interview’, “When I was with Han Ki-beom, I got along well and there was a lot of synergy. I was confident that if I came near the post anyway, I would block them all.”
I heard a similar story from Song Young-jin, a junior who succeeded them. “At the time, among the various forward defense strategies, there was also a way to drive the opponent into the post. It’s because you can take a picture the moment you want to enter. Juseong and I both were quick and had good elasticity, so I remember not allowing breakthroughs or under-the-goal attacks. Leaving his position and facing a lot of players, he was not behind in speed, and he poured block shots at opponents who were floating in the air.”
As expected by many, the overall honor at the time went to Song Young-jin. Jeon Hyung-soo and Kim Seung-hyun were also worthy players to aim for the first place, but basketball is still a high fight. I don’t know if there is a difference in the level itself, but when a special big man and a special guard come out, there are many clubs that prefer the big man. Such was the situation at the time. As Samsung picked Lee Kyu-seop in the previous season and his height was reinforced and he even won the championship, interest in the starting big man increased even more.
Regarding the ranking of nominations after that, there were many expectations that they would go in the order of Kim Seung-hyun and Hyung-soo Jeon. He was a good enough player to play the role of No. 1 as well as the role of Ace in No. 2, but Kim Seung-Hyun was in a situation where he was taking a snow stamp as a special existence among basketball players. In terms of stability, there was also an opinion that Jeonhyeong-soo looked better, but there were high voices expecting Kim Seung-hyun at the high point, like the saying, ‘If it explodes, it’s a jackpot.’
As a result, Gold Bank designated Jeonhyeongsu as the second priority. There were many reactions among fans who were surprised by the unexpected choice, but even Daegu Dongyang Orions coach Kim Jin, who had the 3rd pick, said that he was dumbfounded. Regarding the situation at the time, former director Kim said, “I was personally coveting enough to want to nominate Kim Seung-hyun even if the first place came out, and honestly, the moment I received the third place nomination, I didn’t expect it at all. Because it seemed like we couldn’t come until our turn. In such a situation, I was so happy that Gold Bank skipped Kim Seung-hyun. It was a miracle,” he said.
‘War with weight’ Song Young-jin, a talent that was buried under 10 kg,
LG, who took Song Young-jin as the first priority, emerged as a candidate for the championship at once. That’s also because the addition of a native big man in the previous season meant that they had become a complete team in a situation where they drew attention as the best attacking team in the league through outside shots and fast basketball in the previous season. The point guard position was also disappointing, but the team itself covered a large part through tactics, and above all, the height of the front line itself could not be ignored if the ace Cho Sung-won was short, so if he used the normal number 1, the height of the front line itself would be too low.
As a result, director Kim Tae-hwan at the time misused the jewel named Song Young-jin. Was it because he was envious of the native big man of the other team who played a heavy role under the goal? Coach Kim wanted to use Song Young-jin as a power player who could fight with foreign players. However, as many media outlets expressed concerns, this was close to a gamble with a low chance of success.
The most problematic of all was the process. As he admitted, Song Young-jin is said to have a constitution that does not stick to the body well. It is also a personality that needs time to adapt to something. However, the team unconditionally tried to grow the body and power up. Surprisingly, the method chosen as number 1 in such a process was ‘eat a lot and gain weight’. From today’s point of view, it’s even absurd.
Song Young-jin also said about that time, “The first mission was to just eat and eat and eat and gain weight first. Late night snacks are the basics, and I ate six meals a day. Even while working out, I ate in between. Eating was not enjoyable at all, and the repetition of such situations made me feel unbearably stressed.”
Song Young-jin’s competitiveness during her college years was her outstanding athleticism and mobility for her height. Her opponents had no choice but to struggle in the offense and defense just because she was tall and agile around the court. LG made the wrong choice by stripping the armor and taking away even the sword from a player with such great strengths. As he blindly focused on gaining weight, the balance of his body was broken and he was unable to utilize his original strengths.
He gained more than 10 kg, but literally only gained weight while leaving other parts intact. What is more incomprehensible is that director Kim was Song Young-jin’s teacher during college. He had used Song Young-jin himself before, and although he must have known the pros and cons, he broke the wings of a player who could have been the club’s next franchise star by shaking hands close to defeat.
Of course, if Song Young-jin stayed in a bad state and ended his career as a mediocre player, there would have been a lot of intellectual voices about him as well as the club and manager Kim. Fortunately, Song Young-jin succeeded in rebounding. Being sent to KT as a reward player was close to humiliation for a player from the 1st place, but at the end of the day, he is reborn as an indispensable key player in the team.
Directors Il-Seung Choo and Chang-Jin Jeon, who had worked with him at KT, did not try to change Young-Jin Song significantly. She knew from her college days that she had strengths in off-the-ball movement and defense, so she tried to make use of her good play. As a result, Song Young-jin began to prove her worth through dirty work such as defense, and took her career until 2015 and succeeded in a long run. She was a good example of the side effects that ill-fitting clothes can have.
◆ Youngjin Song, regular league record ☞ Average 7.39 points, 2.48 rebounds, 1.16 assists, 0.74 steals in 606 appearances
Left-handed ace Jeon Hyung-soo, whose balance was broken due to the trade,
was ranked second and third, but the difference between Hyung-soo Jeon and Seung-hyun Kim in their professional performances was large. To put it bluntly, Hyung-soo belongs to the axis that is disappointing for being ranked second, and Kim Seung-hyun is one of the best 3 picks of all time. As such, it is true that there are questions about ‘what would have happened if Gold Bank had chosen Kim Seung-hyun at the time?’ First of all, Dongyang’s first win must have been delayed, and Gold Bank is likely to have risen to a higher rank.
In any case, at the time, the reaction after selecting the candidate was, “I feel sorry for Kim Seung-hyun, but it’s not a pick that I can’t understand at all.” Goldbank also revealed the reason for the nomination by saying, ‘There are not many players to score on the team, so we needed a representative who can contribute in this area.’ The archetype was a dual guard with enough scoring power to handle shooting guards, so he is somewhat convincing.
In fact, Jeon Hyung-soo shows off his compliant skills in his first season and solidifies his place as a main player in the team. He was quick and good at shooting, showing strength in both penetration and 3-point shooting. In addition, his 2-on-2 game and 45-degree bank shot were excellent. There was also his rarity as a left-hander. It was only a problem that Kim Seung-hyun did too well even if he did well, and Hyung-soo also did his part.
From a long-term point of view, Jeon Hyung-soo was not a problem with Kim Seung-hyun. It was the fact that the named team was struggling financially. Hyung-Soo was content with his Gold Bank life. The environment was not good compared to other teams, but the atmosphere between the players was very tight. Just as he was trying to grow while adapting so well, the team that was experiencing financial difficulties traded him for cash.
At that time, Jeon Hyung-soo was in a great shock, and Gold Bank fans had no choice but to sigh at the unfortunate reality of losing a new star. Afterwards, Hyung-soo changed teams often enough to be called a Journeyman, and it is analyzed that the unwanted trade from his debut team had a great effect on this. If Gold Bank had been a well-financed team and if Hyung-su had been able to focus on basketball stably, he might have become a franchise star representing the club.
◆ Jeon Jeon-soo’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 7.32 points, 1.69 rebounds, 3.33 assists, 0.61 steals in 446 games played
Everyone as a supporting actor… , Magic Hand’s amazing debut season
‘Everyone except me has a supporting role!’ At least, even if Kim Seung-hyun shouted that at the time, everyone had no choice but to admit it. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the supporting actors here are all native players, including new draft mates. As much as that, his debut season came as a shock beyond surprise. He achieved perfect achievements in personal records and team performance to the extent that even those who had been somewhat underestimated because he was from a non-mainstream Dongguk University had no choice but to admit it in the end.
Orions, who had been at the bottom of the table for years, including an embarrassing 32-game losing streak, changed completely with the arrival of a super rookie. Through the hot run-and-gun basketball centered on the trio of Kim Seung-hyun, Marcus Hicks, and Ryan Perryman, they quickly rose to become a strong player in the KBL and a popular national team. Kim Seung-hyun achieved the unprecedented 5 crowns in his debut season by sweeping the best 5, assist award, and steal award, as well as demonstrating the power of winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP of the regular season at the same time in his debut season.
In addition to that, he participated in the 2002 Busan Asian Games as a national team and played a decisive role in winning the gold medal by beating strong China in the final. With a goal following a decisive steal at the end of the game, which was heavily defeated, the game was dragged into overtime, and even led to a double play in overtime. All of that happened in about a year, and in terms of impact, there is no player to compare it with.
Despite his small stature, Seung-hyun Kim was able to succeed because he did his part in the defensive part. Usually, short players in the 170cm range often experience difficulties in defense even if they do not know how to attack. He is also the target of the opposing team’s persistent mismatch strategy. Seunghyun Kim was different. Although he was short, he had no problems defending.
He’s basically very fast, and his weight is solid, so he doesn’t easily get knocked over by bigger players or post-ups. In addition, since he constantly tries to steal, most players feel burdened about dribbling next to Kim Seung-hyun for a long time. As such, he has shaken up the history of KBL since his rookie days, but his persistence left regret.
In addition to his chronic back injury, a controversy over the contract broke out, and as a result, his image was fatally damaged, as well as severe punishment from KBL. Afterwards, he was traded to Samsung and dreamed of a revival, but he couldn’t recover his skills at the peak of his life and even suffered the stigma of eating and running.
◆ Kim Seung-hyun’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 10.5 points, 3.03 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.95 steals in 470 appearances
From the versatile Journeyman to the hustle player…
Is it because the presence of the 1st to 3rd picks was great? The players who were nominated in the 2001 draft left considerable disappointment in other orders. At least Hwang Jin-won (44‧188cm) showed standard play as a shooting guard and kept his pride in the 5th place. Although he went to and from several teams, he played an active part as the ace of the Korea Tender, who was traded and left, and led the 2002-03 season to the first semifinals, and had a heyday.
He can score points by crossing my perimeter, is good at auxiliary reading, and has good defense enough to have been picked as the defensive 5 girl twice. It was useful in many ways, but it was evaluated that it was ambiguous because there was no clear part on either side, and it is analyzed that this part worked as a reason for becoming a Journeyman.
Lee Hyeon-jun (43‧194cm) spent his career mainly as a sixth man. Like Hwang Jin-won, he was popular with directors because he could play various roles throughout. In particular, when coach Shin Seon-woo was pushing total basketball at KCC, he showed multiplayer enough to often appear as a point guard even though he was a forward.
◆ Lee Hyeon-Jun’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 2.46 points, 1.18 rebounds, 0.78 assists, and 0.44 steals in 385 matches played
◆ Hwang Jin-Won’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 8.48 points, 2 rebounds, 2.48 assists, and 0.97 steals in 593 matches played
◆ Kim Jin-Ho’s regular league Total record ☞ Average of 2.04 points, 0.82 rebounds, 0.95 assists, 0.52 steals in 172 games played
◆ Lee Hyeong-joo’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 1.91 points, 0.53 rebounds, 0.48 assists, and 0.23 steals in 86 matches
◆ Shin Dong-han’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 3.37 points, 0.66 rebounds, 0.37 assists, 0.4 steals in 273 matches played
◆ Kim Jong-hak regular Total league record ☞ Total average of 2.45 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.35 assists, and 0.28 steals in 307
In case, he was not a well-known player, but he was known as a real sixth man. This is because he did his best to hustle even if he ran for a short time 안전놀이터. Maybe it was because Kim Seung-hyun and Dongguk University classmates? Kim Seung-hyun showed confidence in his defense, so he often appeared as a dedicated marksman, but he actually blocked it quite well. In addition to that, in the 7th match against TG Sambo in the championship match with KCC, he intensively defended Kim Ju-seong, who is 25cm taller than himself, and shook his mentality, contributing to the championship.
◆ Choi Min-kyu’s regular league record ☞ Total average of 2.57 points, 0.93 rebounds, 0.97 assists, 0.34 steals in 271 appearances
Song Young-jin, who had many good memories at KT from his active days, went through Busan KT, Yonsei University, and Whimoon High School coaching and returned to Suwon KT coaching. Because of his sincere and silent disposition, he was constantly receiving love calls from various places, so there was little vacancy after his retirement. Hyung-soo Jeon built a relationship with the women’s basketball world, such as Incheon Shinhan Bank’s Sbird coach and acting manager, and is currently working as a coach at Myungjigo.
Perhaps under the influence of his free-spirited personality, Kim Seung-hyun is not walking the path of his leader. After his retirement, he turned to diverting his talents as a commentator and various entertainment appearances, and briefly worked as an instructor in a basketball class, but it did not last long. It was the same during his time as a player, but even after his retirement, incidents such as being sued for fraud due to his default on debt have not ceased.
etc… , Lee Hyeon-jun is SK coach, Seong Jun-mo is Hyundai Mobis power analysis team leader, Shin Dong-han is active as a KBL referee, Kim Jong-hak runs a youth basketball club, Choi Min-gyu runs a basketball class and a pig’s trotter restaurant, and Hwang Jin-won is known to live in the United States.