Choi Bukyung to Replace Lee Jong-Hyun in Second Window of Asian Qualifiers
Last week, the Korean Basketball Association (KBA) unveiled the twelve players that will play for Korea’s second window campaign in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Included is Ulsan Mobis 204cm center Lee Jong-Hyun, who was has played for Korea since 2012 when the latter was still the top highschool varsity player for Kyongbokgo. In the game against Incheon ET Land (4 February, 2018), Lee suffered a fall and would later be diagnosed with an ACL tear that will cost him the remainder of the 2017-2018 season of the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
Seoul SK’s 200cm veteran center Choi Bukyung was named as a replacement by Hur Jae to fill up the void left in the wake of Jong-Hyun’s injury. Choi last suited up for Korea in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge as he averaged 5.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Choi has a reputation in the KBL as a tenacious and physical rebounder. This season, Choi is averaging a career high 8.7 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 47.2%.
Despite the substitution of Choi, Korea will be missing Jong-Hyun’s shot-blocking ability as the 24 year old center once lead the first round of the 2014 FIBA World Cup in blocks per game. With the approval of Ricardo Ratliffe’s naturalization, head coach Hur Jae hopes that Ratliffe will also bolster Korea’s interior defense.
The Korean national team now consists of Park Chan-Hee (Incheon ET Land), Doo Kyung-Min (DB Promy), Heo Hoon (Busan KT), Lee Jung-Hyun (KCC Egis), Choi Jun-Young (SK Knights), Heo Ung (DB Promy), Jeon Jun-Beom (Ulsan Mobis), Yang Hee-Jong (Anyang KGC), Oh Se-Keun (Anyang KGC), Choi Bukyung (SK Knights), Kim Jong-Kyu (LG Sakers) and Ricardo Ratliffe (Samsung Thunder).
Heading into the training camp this weekend, several players are nursing injuries: Doo Kyung-Min (sore back), Heo Hoon (ankle), Oh Se-Keun (knee), Choi Jun-Young (knee) and Choi Bukyung (knee). However, Hur Jae assured the fans that the process of recovery is underway and the players mentioned have since returned to play with their respective KBL teams.
Korea will host Hong Kong on 23 of February and the rematch with New Zealand in New Zealand on 26 of February. Both games will be played in Seoul’s Jamsil stadium.
image courtesy of newsis.co.kr