Korea Names 16 Players in Preparation for 3rd Window of FIBA Asia Qualifiers
After the conclusion of the 2018 Korean Basketball League finals where Seoul SK Knights have once again hoisted the championship after 18 years, the national team will be training for a very busy summer. Once more, head coach Hur Jae will be holding training camp to prepare for the 3rd window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta – Palembang.
The Korean Basketball Association announced that sixteen players will start training camp in May 21, next month. The players are: Kim Sun-Hyung (SK Knights), Choi Jun-Young (SK Knights), Park Chan-Hee (Incheon ET Land), Heo Hoon (Busan KT), Lee Daesung (Ulsan Mobis), Doo Kyung-Min (Wonju DB), Lee Jung-Hyun (KCC Egis), Heo Ung (Armed Forces), Jeon Jun-Beom (Ulsan Mobis), Jeong Hyo-Geun (Incheon ET Land), Choi Jin-Soo (Goyang Orions), Kang Sangjae (Incheon ET Land), Lee Seung-Hyun (Armed Forces), Choi Bukyung (SK Knights), Kim Jong-Kyu (LG Sakers) and Ricardo Ratliffe (Free Agent).
To round up the national team pool, the following players were named: Yang Hee-Jong (Anyang KGC), Lim Dong-Seop (Armed Forces), Heo IL-Young (Goyang Orions), An Yeong-Jun (SK Knights), Song Kyochang (KCC Egis), Oh Se-Keun (Anyang KGC), Kim Junil (Seoul Samsung) and Ha Seung-Jin (KCC Egis).
Kim Sun-Hyung returns to the national team after missing the 2nd window of the Asian Qualifiers due to an ankle fracture sustained in December last year. It was only in late March that Sun-Hyung managed to return to court and helped his team win the 2018 KBL championship. Joining Kim is Wonju’s Doo Kyung-Min, the league MVP this year.
Former Samsung center and naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe is once again called to the national team after making his debut earlier this year. It is expected that Ratliffe will report to training camp after he signs a new contract during his special free agency period. In February, Ratliffe was able to get his passport and clearance in time for training camp but his unfamiliarity with the system employed by Hur Jae was immediately felt as he was often out of sync with the team’s offense. With a month long training camp, expect Ratliffe to be fully familiar with coach Hur’s playbook.
While Ratliffe provides a strong inside presence, the national team is suddenly lacking on ceiling with 203cm Lee Jong-Hyun out until next year due to an ACL tear suffered in March. Long time mainstays Kim Jong-Kyu and Choi Bukyung, although named to the sixteen player list, are currently injured and could miss the 3rd window altogether with their impending surgeries and rehabilitation period. Citing the lack of ceiling due to injuries, Hur called up KBL veterans Choi Jin-Soo and Jeong Hyo-Geun, who are hybrid fours with the ability to play the three as well. Hur was quoted by the media that he plans to utilize the lack of height into augmenting the team’s speed and shooting.
The first test for the national team is a pair of games against East Asian rivals Japan. The national team is scheduled to fly to Tokyo in June 15 for the first friendly and later move to Sendai in June 17 for the final friendly. After the game against Japan, Hur Jae is expected to name his twelve players that will suit up against China (June 28) and against Hong Kong (July 1).
After the third window, the national team is expected to train once again in preparation for the 2018 Jakarta – Palembang Asian Games in August. Korea, having won the 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold in 2014, is expected to be reinforced by Ricardo Ratliffe as the latter had been given clearance by the Olympic Council of Asia and FIBA to suit up for Korea. Head coach Hur Jae is also expecting to welcome back veterans Oh Se-Keun, Heo IL-Young and Yang Hee-Jong during the Asian Games preparation.
Image Courtesy of FIBA