A team with poor ratings. How did the players on that team feel about the unfavorable reviews?
Samsung Electronics was the dominant force in Korean men’s basketball in the 1980s, a reputation that carried over into the KBL. They won two championships as either the Suwon Samsung or Seoul Samsung, and in the late 2000s, the team was centered around Lee Sang-min (now coach of Jeonju KCC).
However, Samsung hasn’t been a basketball powerhouse since the 2010s. First, from the 2010-2011 season to the 2022-2023 season, the team only made the playoffs a total of four times (2010-2011, 2012-2013, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017). They also only reached the championship game once (2016-2017).
On the other hand, they’ve finished last five times (2011-2012, 2014-2015, 2018-2019, 2021-2022, 2022-2023), most notably in the last two seasons. In the 2021-2022 season, the team won just nine games.
And Samsung didn’t add to its roster in the summer of 2023. They have a solid one-two punch in Kim Si-rae (178 cm, G) and Lee Jung-hyun (189 cm, G), but something is unnerving. Both players have the “aging curve” variable.
Furthermore, the foreign players (Coby Cockburn-Ishmael Lane) are unproven. Considering that the foreign players are half of the team’s strength, Samsung’s concerns are even greater. For that reason, not many people are optimistic about Samsung’s 2023-2024 season.
The players are aware of that assessment. But they can’t let it get to them. That’s why they’re sweating it out in the offseason.
The main players are the main players, but the backup players need to provide supportive shooting, which is why the backup players need to be competitive.
Kim Kwang-chul (184 cm, G), who has to support the guard lineup, said, “(Lee) Jung-hyun and (Kim) Si-rae are the mainstays, but the younger players have to show a lot of activity. We need to be more fierce. We have to be one step ahead of our opponents. Of course, we know that our team is underrated, but this year, we shouldn’t be as easy to break down as we are rated. And I think we’ll be better, both in terms of team organization and player quality.” 스포츠토토
Choi Seung-wook (193 cm, F), who has to organize the forward line, said, “There may be differences in players’ skills, but they are all professionals. I think the difference in skill is like a sesame leaf, so it’s important to play with determination. And if the players do what the team wants them to do, I think we can do well.”
Yoon Sung-won (196 cm, F), a newcomer to Samsung, said, “We are one of the underdogs, but our coach and teammates all say, ‘We’re better than last year.’ We have good chemistry and everyone is working hard in the gym. If we bring what we have and the basketball we’ve been practicing to the season, I think we’ll do better, and we need to play harder on the court.”
Park Min-chae (184 cm, G), who is playing her first off-season as a professional, said, “I don’t know much about the professional game, but my brothers are working very hard, and I feel that the team atmosphere is different from last year. If everyone shows the same enthusiasm now, I think our team will be able to reward our fans with a good performance.”
Basketball is a sport that can be predicted to a certain extent, but even so, off-season predictions are often wrong. The 2022-2023 season also saw an unexpected ranking structure. That’s why Samsung didn’t take the current ratings into account. We only focused on the upcoming 2023-2024 season.