After studying in Canada about eight years ago, Jo Jun-hee 먹튀검증 (19, 189 centimeters) has begun his quest for the KBL.

He participated in the 2023 KBL Rookie Draft on April 4 at the Goyang Sono Arena Auxiliary Stadium. Jo Joon-hee played a five-on-five game after the basics test, which consisted of a triangle pass, one-man fastbreak, two-man fastbreak, and a moving shot.

After warming up before the test with a quick dunk that caught the eye, Cho scored her first points in the 5-on-5 game with a mid-range jumper. From there, she continued to play confidently in transition.

The game was attended by many officials, including Seoul Samsung head coach Eun Hee-seok, Ulsan Hyundai Mobis coach Yang Dong-geun, and Changwon LG power analyst Kang Byung-hyun. There was also an unusual number of reporters on site. They were there to check out the performance of Jo Jun-hee, the first Korean to enter the IMG Academy.

The reactions from the professional teams were mixed. Coach Eun Hee-seok said, “He has good athleticism and shooting touch. He is a player worth investing time to develop. I think not only our team but also other teams will make a similar assessment,” and predicted a high chance of selection.

On the other hand, an official from Team A, who requested anonymity, said, “I’m more worried when I see him in person. He is definitely athletic. He seems to have a good shot, and he’s young, so there’s a lot of potential for growth. However, his basic defense is high. We’ll have a discussion at the end of the first round, early in the second round, about where he’s worth a pick.”

The die is now cast. The KBL will compile the scores of the public participants and publish the list of draft participants on May 5. Having passed the test with flying colors, we asked Jo how he would fare on the draft floor, and what he’s looking forward to.

How did you feel after the test?
I was very nervous, but I wanted to show my energy as much as possible. I talked to my brothers who participated with me and tried to do well, so I was able to play with confidence.

Satisfaction with my performance
There were times when I looked rushed, but I tried to stay calm. I am satisfied to a certain extent. My brothers took care of my chances, so I was able to attack with confidence. We focused more on defense than offense. Korea is a defense first team. It wasn’t perfect, but I tried not to miss any details. (Have you measured your surge jump?) I haven’t yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes at the combine.

Why did you decide to take on the KBL challenge?
The KBL is not something I look at lightly. My parents and older brothers, who are playing professionally, encouraged me to try out for the team. I arrived in Korea about two months ago.

Role model among KBL players
Kim Sun-hyung (SK). He’s a player I’ve been looking up to since I was a kid. I learned and felt a lot from watching him play fast breaks. Last year, I played pickup games with players who came to the U.S. from SK for skill training. (Oh) Jae-hyun also gave me some advice. We’ve stayed in touch since then.

Differences between American and Korean basketball
Of course, the U.S. emphasizes fast basketball, but Korea seems to emphasize faster basketball. Defensive tactics are also detailed. I’m learning a lot from Coach Park.

Stereotypes of players who played basketball in other countries
I was born in Korea, and I’ve experienced both senior and junior relationships. I have a strong desire to learn Korean basketball and am ready to accept it.

How would you sell yourself to KBL coaches?
No matter which team I go to, I will show that I am confident and faithful to the coach’s instructions. My parents are also happy that I took on the challenge of the KBL. They’ve always lived in Korea. I want to show them how hard I work in front of them.

If I don’t get selected
I’m not giving up on basketball. Even if it doesn’t work out, I plan to continue with another challenge.

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