This new Moon is all set to shine in the KBL

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This new Moon is all set to shine in the KBL

Korean Basketball League fans, meet your newest star-in-waiting. Jarod Stevenson - or Moon Tae-jong, as he will be referred to in Korea - was taken first overall by the ET Land Elephants in the second annual half-Korean draft on Wednesday afternoon in Yangje-dong, southern Seoul.

Jarod is the older brother of Gregory Stevenson, or Moon Tae-young, the most dominant player in the KBL this season. Moon Tae-young, with his silky smooth moves, is leading the league in scoring with an average of 21.8 points. In addition, he is averaging a respectable 7.9 rebounds (second in the league) and 3.2 assists per game in his rookie season.

The 34-year-old Moon Tae-jong was a no-brainer as the first and only player taken among the seven players and could very well be the league’s best player when he joins up next year. He stated at the draft workout that his strengths are his scoring ability and three-point shots. According to scouting reports, Moon possesses a quick release and is clutch in key situations.

Having started for the University of Richmond in his junior and senior seasons, Moon averaged a respectable 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in his senior season with the Spiders. He has plenty of experience around Europe and has consistently produced respectable numbers there.

Many around the league agree that Moon is a better offensive talent than his younger brother. The natural small forward who likes to play the perimeter is the perfect fit for the Elephants. In flashing excellent midrange and long-distance shots during the draft workouts earlier this week, he will be a force in the league next season when teamed with Seo Jang-hoon at the center position.

KBL fans will be happy to learn that Moon, like the other ethnic Korean players drafted last year, could have stayed on in the more competitive European leagues but volunteered to play in Korea. In a league where we’re accustomed to seeing aging NBA veterans and former NCAA standouts make their one final stop before retirement, it’s great to see talented ethnic Koreans settling down here. They actually want to be here and their talent raises the level of play in the KBL. And I’m already getting excited about the possibility of the two Moon brothers facing each other in the postseason.

The disappointing aspect of the draft was that Kevin Van Hook, an American adoptee, was the only other player taken, first overall in a draft for the KBL’s developmental league. While there were a total of seven ethnic Koreans who entered the draft and five teams with the rights to make selections, the other four teams decided to forgo their selections. Five players were taken in last year’s draft. It leaves one wondering just how long or often the KBL can hold its half-Korean draft in the future.

The only other disappointment was the in-season draft system. Maybe the KBL can work to hold the draft during the off-season. Looking forward to a draft during the months when there are no basketball games scheduled can be a big event in itself for hard-core basketball fans.


By Jason KIM [jason@joongang.co.kr]


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