‘It’s your first time, isn’t it?” Director Song Young-jin sets a first-of-its-kind record
Yang Hong-seok (LG) isn’t the only one facing his own family. KT head coach Song Young-jin will also start his coaching career by setting a record against his hometown.
Suwon KT, led by head coach Song Young-jin, will open the 2023-2024 regular season against Changwon LG on Nov. 21 at Changwon Gymnasium.
It will be the first game for Yang Hong-seok, who signed with LG as a free agent in the offseason. Yang Hong-seok was selected by KT with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft and developed into one of the best forwards in the league, hitting the free agency jackpot. He will make his LG debut against KT’s parent club, Chinjung.
Head coach Song Young-jin will also make his debut as head coach against Chinjeong. Song Young-jin, who built a twin tower with Kim Joo-sung (DB coach) during his time at Chung-Ang University, was selected by LG as the No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft. In 2005, he was selected as a compensation player for free agent Hyun Joo-yup and left LG to join Busan KTF (now Suwon KT).
Song was labeled as a “perennial prospect” during his time at LG, but his skills blossomed after his transfer, earning him the Skill Development Award (2005-2006 season). He played 431 of his 606 career games with KT, where he became the team’s head coach, creating a second life in basketball.
Including the acting head coach, there were four coaches who met his family at his debut game. Heo Jae-hyun, the “basketball president,” was the first. He was appointed as the second head coach of Jeonju KCC (now Busan KCC) on October 22, 2005, and played his debut game against Kia’s successor, Ulsan Mobis (now Hyundai Mobis). He started his coaching career on a high note, defeating the Mobis 89-75.
Cho Sung-won and Jeon Hee-chul also picked up their first wins as head coaches against Chinjung in their debut games. The only one of the four to lose was Cho Dong-hyun. Cho faced Incheon Electroland (now Daegu Korea Gas) in his first game as KT’s head coach in the 2015-2016 season and lost 77-86.
It’s the fifth time a head coach has met his family in his debut game, but the first time a former No. 1 draft pick has done so. “I didn’t think about that part,” laughed Song, “I was nervous even in practice. I also realized that the coaches put a lot of thought into managing the team during the cup tournament.”
KT is considered a dark horse to take on the two-headed monster of Seoul SK and KCC, but the team is not at full strength at the start of the season. Moon Sung-gon will miss the opening game with a sore hamstring, while Heo Hoon, who is serving in the military, will return in the second round.
Ha’s rapid development and Paris Bass’s explosion in the Cup are promising. Bass was in and out of the game in the Cup, averaging 26.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in three games.스포츠토토
“Bass played as well as we expected,” Song said. We spent the offseason without our main players, but in the meantime, we focused on closing the gap between starters and non-starters. We can’t suddenly become the No. 1 fast break team, but this season we want to play fast basketball with an emphasis on defense.”
Meanwhile, since the inception of the KBL, the winning percentage of debutants or acting head coaches facing their parents for the first time is .470 (8-9). Kim Sang-sik, Kim Young-man, and Kim Seung-ki met Chinjung for the first time as acting head coaches, while Lee Sang-beom, Choo Seung-gyun, Kim Joo-sung, Lee Kyu-seop, Jung Jae-hoon, and Kim Byung-chul played their first games as acting head coaches with their debut teams.