As the Korean men’s basketball team prepares for the Hangzhou Asian Games, it will be a year since the team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of last year’s FIBA Asia Cup.
The team, led by head coach Chu Il-seung, will play two national team trials against Japan on Feb. 22-23 at Jamsil Student Gymnasium in Seoul.
The first game will be played on Feb. 22 at 2:20 p.m. and the second on Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.
For Chu Il-seung’s team, which hasn’t played in a while, the Japan match is a welcome respite from the drought.
The national team, which was launched under Chu in May last year, hasn’t played an official game since the FIBA Asia Cup in July of that year.
While countries around the world, including Asia, were competing to qualify for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Korea was ‘closed for business’.
This is because the national team was disqualified from the World Cup Asia qualifiers in February last year after a number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were confirmed in the squad.
In addition, FIBA’s decision to partially link Olympic qualification to the world rankings meant that the team lost the opportunity to accumulate ranking points, making the road to the Paris 2024 Olympics a difficult one.
For now, the Hangzhou Asian Games are the only international tournament where the team can expect results, and the Japan game is important in terms of checking its readiness.
However, Kim Sun-hyung, Oh Se-geun (SK), and Ra Gun-ah (KCC), who are considered key resources, will not be available for the two-game series.
Kim Sun-hyung and Oh Se-geun, who shared the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Playoff MVP honors in the 2022-2023 KBO season, have proven on the court that they are still the best guards and big men in the country despite being born in 1988-1987.
In addition to these three, Choi Jun-yong (KCC), who played a key role in Choo’s forward game at last year’s Asia Cup, was unable to make the squad as he recovers from injury.
That’s where the addition of professional basketball shooter Jeon Sung-hyun comes in.
Jeon played 50 regular-season games for Day One last season, averaging a career-high 17.6 points per game.
He’ll be a great addition to the team’s attacking options after going through the Asia Cup without a specialized shooter.
Japan is not at full strength either.
The core of the Japanese team is the forward duo of Yuta Watanabe (Phoenix) and Rui Hachimura (Los Angeles Lakers), who play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), but neither will be in Korea.
The players will be eligible to join the national team on March 28, thanks to an agreement between the NBA and FIBA.
In addition, guard Yuki Kawamura, who was the regular season MVP of the 2022-2023 season in the Nippon Professional Basketball B.League, has been ruled out due to injury.
As a result, Japan has assembled an away squad that includes Togashi, who was named the 2019 B.League MVP despite being only 5-foot-9, and Baba Yudai, who has played in the NBA’s lower-level G League and Australian leagues.
Josh Hawkinson, who became a Japanese citizen in February, and mixed-race players Hugh Watanabe and Jacobs Akira are also on the roster.
Keisei Tominaga, a shooter who plays for the University of Nebraska in the NCAA, will also be in the lineup.
The two exhibition games will also serve as an exchange to gauge the level of basketball development in both countries.
South Korea previously played Japan twice in 2018. Japan won the first game 88-80, while Korea won the second 99-87.
Lagunia was the star of the show for Heo Jae’s team, scoring 59 points in the two games, while Japan showcased Hachimura, 카지노사이트넷 a mixed-race player who played at NCAA Gonzaga University, in hopes of improving the level of basketball in the country.