Mobis center named basketball MVP

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Mobis center named basketball MVP

Ham Ji-hoon of the Mobis Phoebus has been named the Most Valuable Player of the Korean Basketball League’s 2009-10 season, taking 72 of 80 media votes for a landslide over Moon Tae-young of the LG Sakers, who received six votes.

The third-year center out of Chung-Ang University averaged 14.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and four assists in 52 games. Ham was one of the finalists for the MVP award last season, when he averaged 12.7 points and 4.5 rebounds, but was edged out by point guard Joo Hee-jung.

“I am honored. I’m still awestruck, and I’m not even used to speaking in front of such a large crowd,” Ham said at a press conference yesterday.

“But we finished the regular season with the best record last year before losing in the playoffs, so I’m going to try to suppress my happy feelings and focus on the playoffs,” he added.

Ham played a key role in helping Mobis finish atop the league standings last year before the team crashed in the first round to the Samsung Thunders.

Mobis is coming off a dramatic finish to the regular season, in which it tied with KT Sonic Boom at 40 wins and 14 losses. The two teams even tied their head-to-head matchups, with three wins apiece, but Mobis was able to claim the top seed in the postseason due to the point differential in the six head-to-heads.

Set to serve his mandatory military service next year, Ham is determined to capture the league title this season.

“Last season, our team wasn’t stable because of some injuries,” he said. “I played in our final game of the season thinking about the military service. I desperately want to win the league title and would ideally like to follow in the footsteps of Yang Dong-geun,” a teammate who won both the MVP honor and the league championship in the 2006-07 season.

The Rookie of the Year honor went to ET Land’s Park Sung-jin, who was picked first overall in the domestic rookie draft. The Chung-Ang University graduate played in 54 games and averaged eight points, 3.6 assists and two rebounds.

The coaching award went to Chun Chang-jin of the KT Sonic Boom. Chun edged out Mobis Phoebus’ Yoo Jae-hak with 26 of 53 votes. Although Yoo’s Mobis squad nosed out Chun’s team for the best record in the regular season, KT had finished last overall in the league the past two seasons before Chun took over the squad before the start of this season.

The best overseas player award went to Jasper Johnson of KT, who averaged 19.5 points, 3.3 assists and seven rebounds. Park Jong-chun of Mobis won the Most Improved Player honor.

The 2009-10 season best-five consists of Yang Dong-geun, Jeon Tae-pung, Moon Tae-young, Ham Ji-hoon and Ha Seung-jin.

The five best on defense include Lee Jung-seok, Hwang Jin-won, Kim Joo-sung, Lee Hyun-ho and Brian Dunston.


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