Mobis looks past championshipIt’s usually the losers who say, “Wait’ll next year.” But just days after winning the Korean Basketball League championship, Mobis Phoebus are already talking about next season.
Mobis defeated KCC on Sunday to win the finals in six games, but its lineup will look a lot different next year.
The biggest change will be the absence of forward Ham Ji-hoon, who is set to begin his mandatory military service with Sangmu, the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps, starting on April 19. Ham was the league’s most dominant player this season and received the regular season and postseason Most Valuable Player honors. He will serve his mandatory two years with Sangmu.
“It’s going to be hard with Ham away,” said Mobis head coach Yoo Jae-hak. But Mobis is a respectable team even without him. Yoo managed to coach his squad to the best record in the league despite missing point guard Yang Dong-geun. Many experts had pinned KCC or Samsung as this season’s title winner, but teamwork and strong organization helped Yoo surprise many with the best record of the year.
Yang will return to run the point and if things go as expected, the front office will also re-sign Kim Hyo-beom, Kim Dong-woo and Bryant Dunston. Another positive sign for Mobis is that the three players are still at the beginnings of their careers, with a lot of room for growth.
“Kim still has a lot of room for development. He’s still adjusting to the team-oriented style of play,” explained assistant coach Lim Geun-bae. “If he manages to improve his decision-making skills, when to shoot or pass, he can become a much better player.”
Kim moved to Canada in the fourth grade and played basketball at the University of Portland and Vanguard University before being drafted in the 2005 KBL draft.
Yoo also has several promising rookies. Mobis drafted shooters Song Chang-yong and Hong Soo-hwa and also added center Yoo Jong-hyun. None were considered top-flight talents or taken in the top nine picks, but under Yoo’s tutelage, they have the potential to develop into fine players. Ham, Yoo and Kim all flourished under Yoo.
“We’ll have to stick to a fast transitional game next season. I want to do better next year,” Yoo said, referring to his desire to sign a quality scorer in the offseason.
“If they manage to pick up the right overseas talent during the offseason, it won’t be hard for them to compete among the top teams in the league,” said Choo Seung-il, an MBC ESPN basketball analyst.
By Kim Woo-cheol, Jason Kim [email@example.com]