Rookie of the Year, Hanyang Basketball
Yoo Hyun-jun (Department of Sports Industry, 1st year)
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The Korean University Basketball League recently ended after a long journey lasting about 6 months within the nation. Participating as one of the top contenders for the league title, Hanyang University (HYU) fought well throughout the season but unluckily, the team missed the chance to take a shot at becoming the champion. However, there is a promising future for HYU’s basketball team due to a star who rose above the surface as a leading player. Yoo Hyun-jun (Dpeartment of Sports Industry, 1st year), a freshman, was designated as the Rookie of the Year by the Korean University Basketball Federation (KUBF).
Leading the Team
What makes Yoo special is that he is only a rookie who has played only two semesters of college basketball so far. Also, it is uncommon for a freshman to play in the starting lineup; especially as a point guard. In a fast paced game of basketball with five players competing against the opposite five, a point guard takes on the intelligent role of controlling the entire team on the court. The exceptional talent that Yoo has in dribbling and shooting long-range shots helped him to win the most honorable award for a young player- the Rookie of the Year. Yoo said, “I am very pleased that I was able to win the award. I think the only reason why I was able to win it is because of the support from the team and the coaching staff. Yet, I am still disappointed that we weren’t able to win the university league title.”
In the Korean University Basketball League, Yoo finished the season with an outstanding record of 14.13 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, and 4.06 assists per game. Furthermore, he played the longest total minutes out of the entire HYU basketball team. These statistics, unattained by any other freshmen in other schools, act as evidence for the award. “Usually, a point guard tends to support the team in the back, focusing on making good passes for assists and defending the opponent players,” said Yoo. “However, I am a bit different because I am more of an attacking-styled player.” During the league games, the accuracy of Yoo's long-range shooting ability made the opponent difficult to predict his moves. At such a young age, Yoo has more basketball strengths that outweigh the weaknesses.
Thanks to the leading role of Yoo, HYU finished the league at 4th place with 10 wins and 6 losses out of the 12 university teams. Even though the team hoped to redeem themselves in the playoffs, they lost before the semi-finals. “The team spent days preparing for the season in the beginning of the year. The hard work didn't pay off fully this season, but we are hoping for improvements in the next season,” explained Yoo. “Also, I remember the team winning against Kyunghee University, one of the toughest opponents in the league. It will give us more confidence when we play in the future.”
The Super Rookie
Yoo began to play basketball at a young age. In elementary school, he became interested in sports by playing soccer, leading him onto the world of basketball. “Ever since I started playing basketball, I have always wanted to get better and better. I strived to be in the starting line-up and I wanted to score as much as possible,” said Yoo. “After graduating from high school, my coach suggested me to enter HYU for my benefit. I heard that the team needed a point guard and I desired to go into a team that I would be of use to.” His passion for active basketball assured him the playing time and the leading role on the team, which ended up attaining a great result.
Throughout the season, the media has shown deep interest in Yoo and his achievements. He has been called the “Super Rookie” by the fans and the media, and renowned professional coaches as well as scouts are eyeing on the young player. Choo Seung-gyun, the current head coach of Korean professional basketball team, Jeonju KCC Egis, and HYU alumnus, has praised Yoo and his talents. To this, Yoo said, “I am very well aware of the attention that I am receiving. Yet, I am just trying my best to not allow the pressure to affect my plays. My goal is to help HYU win the league title in the future and to play in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) as a starting point guard. It would be great if I get a chance to win the Rookie of the Year in KBL as well.”
Park Min-young firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Youn-soo
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