KCC Egis veterans Lim, Choo lead by exampleJeonju KCC Egis head coach Hur Jae is all smiles these days, thanks in large part to the strong play of veterans Choo Seung-gyun and Lim Jae-hyun.
Choo, a 37-year-old small forward, and Lim, a 34-year-old guard, are old enough to consider retirement, but are still the centerpieces of a KCC team that has won nine of their past 10 games and sits third overall in the KBL standings.
Both players have averaged 30 minutes a game this season and their effort is also sending a strong message to the younger players on the squad.
“The two older guys on our team practice and play their hearts out,” said KCC guard Kang Byung-hyun. “It leaves us with no other choice but to match their effort or try even harder.”
Hur is known as a disciplinarian. It showed at a practice last weekend when KCC players were stationed around the 3-point line and weren’t showing much movement.
“Just because you’re throwing up a set number of shots, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all you’re supposed to be doing,” Hur screamed at his players. “Take a look at Seung-gyun, even during practice he demonstrates how to react to defenders before launching his shots. Do as Seung-gyun does.”
There’s a reason for Hur’s praise of the savvy veteran forward. Despite his age, Choo’s shooting is as lethal as ever. While Choo had struggled to connect on some of his shots early in the season, he is again playing like the accurate marksman that he is. Choo is averaging 10.3 points, 2.7 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game, but his scoring average over the team’s last 10 games is an impressive 15.3 points per game.
“Professional athletes owe it to themselves to take good care of their bodies to succeed,” said Choo. “I only did what I was supposed to do.”
Lim is another veteran who has earned the praise of the coach by outworking his younger teammates. Although Lim is averaging 5.7 points, 2.3 assists and 2.1 rebounds this season, his hustle on defense has been noted by Hur. Lim seems to relish the role of being a hard-nosed defender and accepts responsibilities others shy away from. In Wednesday’s game against Anyang, KCC was protecting a three-point lead with 2 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the game. KCC forward Eric Dawson threw up a 3-pointer that clanked off the rim. Lim was waiting in the right spot for the offensive rebound and made an easy lay-in.
“No one works harder on defense than Jae-hyun,” said Hur. “There are times when he sacrifices his body on defense and I get concerned that he will injure himself.
“I call him ‘Mad Dog’ for good reason.”
By Kim Hwan, Jason Kim [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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