Moon Jung-hyun, KT’s newest addition, up to break Yang Kang-gu?
Korea University forward Moon Jung-hyun (22‧194.2cm) was selected by Suwon KT with the first overall pick in the 2023 KBL Rookie Draft held at Jamsil Student Gymnasium on November 21. Along with fellow KU guard Park Mubin (23‧184.4cm) and Yonsei guard Yoo Yoo-sang (22‧188cm), Moon was dubbed the “Big Three,” and as predicted, he was the first to be called out, with a half-step lead in the race for the top spot.
With Moon’s arrival, KT’s roster has become even stronger. While KCC and SK are the favorites to win the title next season, KT is no slouch either. The first thing that stands out is their guard corps, which is competitive in both quality and quantity. In addition to quick and active players like Jung Sung-woo (30‧178cm), Choi Chang-jin (30‧185cm), and Choi Sung-mo (29‧186.4cm), the team also has national point guard Heo Hoon (26‧180cm) returning from military service.
Heo is a self-proclaimed one of the best 1s in the country. His ability to shake up the defense from inside and outside the arc and guarantee high scoring has earned him the distinction of being a short foreign player. Backed by a number of high-energy guards, the team is unstoppable on offense. The passing game is also expected to shine with the addition of good forwards and centers.
Solid under the basket. First, there’s Ha Yun-ki (24‧204cm), who is arguably the best big man in the country right now. Despite his height, he is a very athletic player. He scored the highest in Korea in various physical ability tests. He can jump and run very well, and he uses this ability to play boldly against foreign players without being intimidated. He showed that his time has come with a series of dunks and blocked shots in the national team matches.
As for the second option, Michael Eric (35‧211cm), he is an older player who is past his prime, but if he manages to control his playing time, he can show a very high cost-performance ratio. He’s a classic big man with good size, a strong frame, and height, and his strengths are in defense and rebounding.
He represented Nigeria at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where he scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds against South Korea. He has played mostly in European leagues, including Italy, Turkiye, and Russia, and last season he averaged 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game in 15 games for Turk Telekom in the Turkiye League.
While he has a solid career ahead of him, there were some concerns about the extent to which he would retain his skills due to his advanced age, but he passed with flying colors in a scrimmage against the Seoul Samsung on April 20, showing that he can still dominate inside. Ha combines both mobility and power. He is a technician-type player and will be able to synergize well with Eric, who is a true big man.
For Paris Bass (28‧207cm), who played in Puerto Rico for the past three seasons, the KBL is his first time in Asia. Despite his length, Bass has a good outside shot and ball-handling ability, which allows him to create offense through passing as well as penetration. He is an all-around long forward with a lot of options. As a one-option foreign player, he will be the main gun in the team.
In the scrimmage against Samsung, he struggled with the post-ups of fellow foreigner Kofi Coburn (24‧210cm), exposing his struggles under the basket and on defense. However, that could be offset by the fact that the team has drafted a two-option foreign player as a true big man type and has an abundance of long big men, including top homegrown big men Ha Yun-ki (23‧204.4cm) and Park Chan-ho (27‧201cm). Their quick guards and the help defense of Moon Sung-gon, one of the best defensive forwards in the country, are also solid. The current KT lineup is a good fit, as it allows Bass to focus on his strengths on offense while taking some of the pressure off the defense.
What makes Moon’s addition even more welcome is the fact that the forward line has been solidified. While once-promising Han Hee-won (30‧195cm) has rebounded in the blue-colored style, the team has also signed free agent defender Moon Sung-gon (30‧195.6cm), who was one of the key contributors to Anyang’s championship last season. They also brought in Dave Ildefonso (23‧192cm) through the Asian Quarter.
It was a competitive enough forward line, but it seemed a bit underpowered against a forward kingdom like KCC. The addition of Moon Sung-gon is a huge plus, but the loss of Yang Hong-seok cannot be ignored. Moon’s defense is one of the best in the league 토토사이트, but his offense has been criticized for being lackluster.
The addition of Moon Jung-hyun, one of the best forwards in college, is definitely a good thing. His offensive productivity, including his passing game with an excellent BQ, has been highly praised by team managers and even national coach Chu Il-seung. His chemistry with dual guard Heo Hoon is also expected to be good. The combination of KT and Moon has the potential to be a win-win situation.