“We trusted Lee Won-seok and Cha Min-seok and selected Kofi Coburn.”
On the 16th, the opening media day of the 2023-2024 Jungkwanjang Professional Basketball League was held at the Olympia Hall of the Olympic Parktel in Songpa-gu, Seoul.
Last season, Samsung raised expectations with a strong showing in the first round after Eun Hee-seok took over as head coach. However, the team quickly lost steam amid a devastating injury crisis and finished last for the second consecutive season.
For Samsung to rebound, the growth of young players like Lee Won-seok, Shin Dong-hyuk, and Cha Min-seok is essential. Head coach Eun Hee-seok is also focusing on the development of young players with a sense of mission.
Especially with the addition of inside big man Kofi Coburn, the role of Lee Won-seok and Cha Min-seok will be even more important in the new season. Coburn is a solid threat under the basket, but his range is inevitably a weakness.
If Lee Won-seok and Cha Min-seok, who can play inside and out, can fill that gap, Samsung’s offense will be stronger. It’s unfortunate that Cha Min-seok has been sidelined with an injury, but there’s still room for him to come back and energize the team.
Coach Eun Hee-seok said, “I think there are benefits and drawbacks. In professional basketball, it’s important to find the weaknesses of your opponent as much as possible, and Kofi Coburn has his weaknesses. Teams have brought in foreign players who can take spacing, but we went backwards. We had Lee Won-seok and Cha Min-seok to make this choice, so it’s unfortunate that Cha got injured. They were my first picks and I have a mission to keep them. I picked Coburn because I trusted both of them. They’re both big guys, almost 2 meters, and that can be a competitive advantage for us.”
Lee Won-seok, who competed in the Asian Games with the national 3×3 team in the off-season, has become more aggressive. His bold attempts at outside shots in the cup tournament signaled the change.
Coach Eun said, “Asking Won-seok to shoot from the outside is something we’ve done before, and it’s the direction of his development that he shouldn’t be without a clear color. Won-seok is also in his third professional season. He should be equipped with upgraded weapons. He’s a stretch big man, so he needs to create space, and a three-point shot is a must. If he doesn’t shoot, he’s actually helping his opponent. Won Seok-i learned a lot about how to make quick choices in the game through 3×3. You have less time to choose and you have to be aggressive with your shots.”
Jo Joon-hee, a guard from the general public who was selected with the fourth pick in the recent draft, is another prospect Samsung will be looking to develop. He has already made his debut in a cup competition. Eun also has plans to include Jo in the starting lineup for the opening game of the regular season.
Eun said, “We are preparing to put him in the opening game. There is no reason to hide the pros and cons of (Jo) Jun-hee. Everyone knows that. With the fourth pick in this draft, if the first three picks were immediate power, the fourth pick was focused on development. Jun-hee is a player who has clear strengths and can quickly add color to the team because he hasn’t worn any clothes yet. There is still some confusion in the team’s offense and defense, but that’s to be expected with a young player. She has explosive athleticism and is a scary shooter once she gets going.”
Eun is leading a transformation at Samsung, which won just nine games the season before last year. The key this season will be how much the team can improve its anemic offense.
“When I took over, I realized that changing a team doesn’t happen overnight,” Eun said. The first topic of conversation was how gritty and sticky the team was going to be. I think we’re at about 70 percent, if not 100 percent, and that’s the foundation for a team to be a team and for the fans to not give up and have expectations and hopes. It’s the coach’s job to make it 100%.”
“In a motion offense, it’s not about having a lot of patterns, it’s about how organized you can be with the secondary motion you have. Too much motion can be counterproductive and tiring. You want to have as much motion as you can, but you want to make sure that the players can be creative within it. We also brought in an Asian quarter, and we focused on increasing our depth as the younger players matured, but I think the team is more stable now that we have a steady stream of insiders. I think we can average more points than last year. The guys are figuring it out and I can see them improving as they enter their second year.” 메이저놀이터