Han Hee-won, who was highly anticipated when he joined the pro league as he was selected as the second pick in the rookie draft. Despite some tough times, he has displayed his best performance since his debut in this season after expanding his presence in the team after being discharged from the military. He had frank talks with Han Hee-won, who should not be able to rebound at KT this season. (All records are as of Dec. 21, 2023)라바카지노
*This interview took place on December 14, 2023, and was published in the January 2024 issue of Rookie.
The late bloom is beautiful
Han Hee-won, who played as the ace in charge of scoring for the team when he was at Kyung Hee University, entered the professional league in 2015 with the highest ranking of the second overall rookie draft. However, in the meantime of undergoing two trades, he rarely lived up to his expectations at the time of his selection, and joined the Sangmu team after the 2019-2020 season.
Han Hee-won said joining the military in Sangmu was the turning point that changed his career. Despite being a shooter, he couldn’t take a proper shot on the court and calmly reflect on himself at Sangmu, and after being discharged from the military, he expanded his presence in the team and established himself as an indispensable player. The thought of “Let’s defend first” boosted his activism.
“When I heard about the second trade, I thought that if I keep going like this, rookies will continue to come in, so I could retire after serving in the military. If I can’t do this again, I thought my basketball life would be over. Rather than being a huge improvement after joining KT, I was able to spend more time playing than before and I think it was an opportunity to continue playing basketball.”
“The team trusted me and brought me here, so I wanted to repay you, but it wasn’t easy. Even though I practiced a lot at the time, I didn’t feel confident on the court. I’m a shooter, but I lost a lot of confidence to the point where I couldn’t shoot. I had a lot of thoughts, and I’m not a player with a guaranteed playing time, so I was worried a lot about ‘Wouldn’t I be replaced if I couldn’t play here?'”
“So I thought a lot about myself when I joined the military. I think I had a lot of thoughts in the military. So I thought if I help in defense first, I would gain confidence when attacking, so I played defense first, and that was good, so I increased my playing time and found confidence.”
Han Hee-won, who raised his share price through last season, re-signed with KT for a two-year, W275 million in the FA market in 2023. He was one of the most sought-after players in the market, and some teams offered better conditions, but he chose to stay.
“Last season, I had a lot of thoughts about retirement, and I thought to myself that if I don’t do well here, I will end up as a player who is neither a real nor me. That’s why I became desperate. Whether it works or not, what I did with the determination to give it a try led to good results in my own way.”
“(Heo) Hoon is also coming back in the season, so I thought the team was strong. Also, when looking at the terms of the contract, there was a team that offered better terms. Still, KT brought me in through a trade and gave me an opportunity to play like this. I think I met him only once in the FA, and he gave me the most trust. He told me what direction he would use it, but I don’t know if it’s because he’s seen you for a long time, but he keeps what he says. That’s one trust.”
Han Hee-won, who renewed his contract, is showing the best performance since his professional debut. As of playing 22 games, he has scored 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds on average and made 1.7 3-pointers per game, recording career-highs in most indicators. Rising confidence is the source of improving performance.
“This season, the team recognized the value of the team, and the coach is new, so I think I practiced a lot of aggressive parts to show a better performance. I thought I had to defend myself, so I focused a lot on shooting. I’m always nervous on the court now, but the coach and coach give me a lot of trust. Since I take some time to play, I have a chance to make up for my mistakes, and I think I’m doing it with more confidence.”
“What do I need to do? I have too much to do. I have a lot to do in defense, and I originally had a mindset to throw confidently without paying attention to the success rate of shots, but I think I’m really confident in the next attack even if I get an airball this season. There are too many things to do, but I think I’ve definitely improved my confidence.”
Last season, KT entered the season with high expectations of a favorite amid solid depth despite Huh Hoon’s enlistment. However, last season was a nightmare for KT. It was the first time in five years since the 2017-2018 season that KT finished sixth place in the regular league.
This season is different under the new coach Song Young-jin. He endured the first round safely amid a winning streak before Huh Hoon joined, and is at the top of the list despite negative factors involving Moon Sung-gon and Ha Yoon-ki’s injuries.
“Last season, there was a foreign player problem, and I don’t think the domestic players got together as a team. This time, Sung-gon is coming to captain the team, and the team is playing basketball with excitement because he set the direction for the team to win more than personal and Hun said something more to raise the energy level.”
“First of all, Sung-gon caught a lot of the team and my friends born in 1993, especially Chang-jin, were able to survive the first round without Hun. And everyone was so strong in defense like (Jung) Sung-woo, so the team got stronger with Hun coming, but I think I was able to withstand it because other players were good before. I feel a lot like the main players are trying to make the team stronger.”
The joining of transfer and captain Moon Sung-gon is of great help both on and off the court.