Heo Hoon, the star guard of professional basketball’s Suwon KT, has set his sights on winning the championship as his first goal.
On the afternoon of the 15th, Heo met with reporters at the KT Victory Center in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, and said, “Of course, the season goal is always to win. What player wouldn’t want to win a championship?” He said.
“This season, the environment (of the club) has changed a lot. The team atmosphere is also really good,” he said, adding, “I can’t say it’s the right time to win, but I think the odds are higher than in previous seasons.”
Hehun, who enlisted in the army in May last year and served in the Armed Forces Athletic Corps, was discharged on May 15.
KT, which has been waiting for Heo to return to the team, can now look to the future with a 6-3 start to the season.
Heo Hoon’s return is a welcome one for KT, which has an abundance of forwards including Ha Yoon-ki, Paris Bass, Lee Doo-won, and Han Hee-won, who have grown into the league’s top big men.
Moon Sung-gon, the best defender in professional basketball who has won the best defense award for four consecutive seasons, is also preparing to return from injury, creating excitement on and off the court.
“If Heo Hoon and Moon Sung-gon come back and play together, I don’t think there’s a team that can stop us,” Bass said after the home game against Daegu KOGAS on Sept. 9.
Heo Hoon replied, “I love it when I see (the team) from the sidelines. Of course, I can’t say who would stop a team with me and Sung-gon in it, but I think we’re more valuable to the team,” he laughed, adding, “I think Bass told me in a good way that we can be better than before.”
He didn’t enjoy his last day off, but instead joined the team and trained with them.
As soon as the interview was over, he went straight to the weight room to stretch according to his own routine.
“It’s especially important for him to maintain his own weight training routine and be punctual,” a team official said.
“I’m happy to be a civilian,” Heo Hoon said, “At the end of my military life, I was empty and bored. I wanted to get out of the army as soon as possible and play,” he said, adding, “I have a desire to do better after I leave the army than I did before.”
The emotion that drives Heo Hoon is the desire to win.
While Heo was gone from professional basketball, the top guard spot went to last season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kim Sun-hyung (SK).
This season, Goyang Sono’s Lee Jung-hyun has been dominant, leading all Korean players in scoring (20.9 points) and assists (7.2).
“He’s gotten really good. It’s amazing,” he said, adding, “It’ll be fun to play against him.”
“We played together on the national team, and I remember he had good strength and physicality. It would be fun to play against them,” he reiterated.
As for the team that will be the most challenging, he said Busan KCC. KCC is also a team with many of Heo’s closest players.
First of all, Heo’s brother Heo-woong is a signboard, and star forward Choi Jun-yong, who has been close to Heo since his days at Yonsei University, has recently become the center of the team.
In addition, national team forward Song Kyo-chang, who shared a room with Heo at the Korean Armed Forces Sports Academy, is preparing to return to professional basketball with KCC.
“They have so many players to contend with,” laughs Heo, “but KCC is not important right now anyway. The fourth and fifth rounds are important, so if they can improve their organization, they will be a very scary team.”
In addition, Heo said he still hasn’t shaken off the disappointment and pain from the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The men’s team, led by Chu Il-seung, finished seventh at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September and October, their lowest finish ever.
The once dominant Asian powerhouse was truly humiliated, falling in the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2006 Doha Games.
“We brought it on ourselves, we should have finished well,” Heo told reporters after the 70-84 quarterfinal loss to China.
“The atmosphere in the team was messy,” he said.
Looking back, Heo Hoon said, “I have no regrets. Even if I were to be interviewed again, I would have spoken more forcefully, but I don’t think the janitor would have been any weaker.”
“The result was disastrous and my performance was disappointing. It’s a memory I don’t want to think about in my basketball life,” Heo said, “I keep getting angry and feel bad when I think about it.”
“As time goes by and I look back, I realize that I learned a lot. I wouldn’t change it, but I think it’s a good thing for Korean basketball. I think it was a lesson for everyone to think about change,” he said.
“Of course, that’s not my job. But I hope it (Korean basketball) will get better and better,” he added. 먹튀검증