Ki Seung-ho makes most of new roleThree years into his professional career, Ki Seung-ho is shedding his role-player tag, emerging as a formidable second scoring option for the Changwon LG Sakers.
With regulars on the Korean Basketball League squad struggling this season, Ki has taken advantage of increased playing time. The 25-year-old forward has shown good chemistry with Sakers ace Moon Tae-young.
Up until this season, Ki had been a role player, averaging seven to eight points per game.
With more established players like Kang Dae-hyup and Cho Sang-hyeon ahead of him on the depth chart, Ki had not received much court time in his first two complete seasons with the team.
Then, LG head coach Kang Eul-joon called Ki into his office prior to the start of the Dec. 3 game against the Daegu Orions.
“I told Seung-ho that I believed in him and that he should not worry about a thing,” said Kang. “I also told him to shoot with confidence.”
And so he did.
Ki delivered against the Orions, scoring a career high 28 points in the game, including five 3-pointers to lead his team to a 91-83 win.
In the following three games, Ki played a prominent role in LG’s offense, scoring 21, 18 and 23 points, respectively.
The Sakers, who got off to a sluggish start, have now won four of their last six games to improve to 9-10.
“I listened to my coach and shot with confidence and they started to fall,” Ki said. “When I started connecting, it naturally provided me with an extra boost of energy.”
The Sakers small forward has almost doubled his scoring average to 11.8 points per game from last season’s 6.9 points. He has also improved in all statistical categories, except for turnovers.
Ki got a late start in basketball, having only played in several three-on-three tournaments up until his third year of middle school - most basketball players start playing organized games in elementary school. But he eventually got noticed by Anyang High School and was scouted to play for that school’s team in 2001.
Critics point out that Ki has to improve his fundamental skills, but Ki said he is willing to continue to work hard and establish himself as a player capable of starting in the KBL before he starts serving his mandatory military service next year.
“I’m in my third year in the league,” said Ki. “I think it’s time that I show people what I’m capable of on the court.”
By Kim Hwan, Jason Kim [email@example.com]