Americans lead hoops recruit listNew basketball recruits for the 2004-05 season are coming in for a landing, mostly from the United States.
“We try to think that we made the right choice, but you never know how it will turn out,” said one team manager, echoing the worries of nine other team heads in the Korea Basketball League.
Although managers scrutinized the players from head to toe while in the States, they still don’t seem entirely sure whether the players will meet their high expectations.
Through last year, the KBL had supervised the selection of foreign players by inviting athletes who wanted to play in South Korea and arranging a draft for teams to pick their favorites. That approach usually gave first dibs to the team with the worst record in the previous season.
Starting this year, however, a free agency system, by which teams can contact players at will and sign a private contract with them, has replaced the draft.
The first three teams to announce newly acquired players were the Daegu Orions, the ET Land Black Slamers of Incheon and the Seoul-based SK Knights.
The Orions picked forward Nate Johnson and Robert Jackson, both of whom played in the National Basketball Development League, which has shepherded players, coaches and other staff to teams under the NBA umbrella at a rate of 25 per year.
“We think we selected better players than last year,” said Kim Baek-ho, the Orions’ business manager. “We are curious to know the outcome.”
The Black Slamers, which re-signed Albert White, also selected center Hiram Fullor, 23, a former Atlanta Hawk.
SK’s pick, forward Leonard White, played in the Continental Basketball Association.
The TG Sambo Xers picked Jameel Watkins, who brings experience with the Philippine and China basketball leagues. They’re still looking for a guard, however.
Meanwhile, steering clear of the player supermarket is last year’s champion, KCC Egis, which decided to re-sign forward Charles Minlend and center Reggie Bassette.
New foreign players will take a physical today and on Friday. According to the KBL, each player’s height must not exceed 208 centimeters, and the total height of the two allowed recruits per team must be less than four meters.
by Sung Baik-you
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