Turning Concerns Into Expectations, Lee Jong-hyun Is Establishing Himself as the Big Man at Jungkook

Lee Jong-hyun (203 cm, C) is establishing himself as a big man for Jeonggwanjang.

Anyang Jungkwanjang defeated Busan KCC 84-74 in a regular season game of the 2023-2024 Jungkwanjang Professional Basketball League at Anyang Indoor Gymnasium 현금홀덤사이트 on Nov. 19.

With the win, the team improved to 8-4 on the season and remained in sole possession of second place.

The game started off with a dominant performance from KCC. Lens Abando (188 cm, F) and Jung Hyo-geun (200 cm, F) moved inside and out to shake up KCC’s big frontcourt of Lee Seung-hyun (197 cm, F) and Choi Jun-yong (200 cm, F). Rebounding was a big factor in KCC’s lead.

The team was outrebounded 40-33 on the day. Jung Kwanjang’s players on the court did not spare their bodies to participate in rebounding, especially Jung Kwanjang center Lee Jong-hyun. He played 34 minutes and 30 seconds, scoring seven points and grabbing nine rebounds.

While Jong-hyun didn’t do much in the way of scoring, he did the dirty work of a big man: rebounding and blocking.

In the first quarter, Jong-hyun fought a post battle with KCC’s Alize Johnson and executed a boxout. He focused on grabbing defensive rebounds through collaborative defense with Daryl Monroe.

In the second quarter, Lee not only grabbed a rebound but also made a steal. With 8:07 left in the second quarter, Jonghyun made a sensible touch on a post-up by Lagunar for a steal, and with 4:33 left in the second quarter, he and Abando made a block on Lee’s lay-up, leading the fans to cheer.

With this block, Lee reached the milestone of 200 career blocked shots.

With Lee Jong-hyun holding up well in the post, Jung Kwan-jang was able to execute the motion offense derived from the frontcourt of Park Ji-hoon (184 cm, G) and Park Ji-hoon (184 cm, G).

KCC’s Heo Woong and Chung Chang-young scored in the middle and late third quarter, but Chung Kwan-jang never lost the lead in the fourth quarter as Chung Hyo-geun joined in the scoring. Especially, Lee Jong-hyun’s rebounds were crucial in each game.

Jung had nine team rebounds in the fourth quarter, eight of which were defensive rebounds, indicating a strong focus on defense. Despite the physical burden, Lee Jong-hyun also grabbed two rebounds in the fourth quarter to support Jung’s play.

Finding a solution in rebounding, Jung Kwan-jang was able to overwhelm KCC after the middle of the fourth quarter and enjoy the moment of victory.

Coach Kim Sang-sik said of Lee Jong-hyun’s play, “(Lee Jong-hyun) told me to focus on rebounding, defense, and blocking. He said it’s okay to make mistakes with confidence. His stamina improved and he played 35 minutes. It must have been hard for the opponent, but I think I stuck it out until the end,” he said, expressing satisfaction.

Lee Jong-hyun spent last season bouncing around between Carot (now Sono) and KCC. After signing for Jeonggwanjang as a free agent in desperation ahead of this season, Jong-hyun has been gradually improving with the trust of head coach Kim Sang-sik.

His average minutes have increased from 12 last season to 19 this season, and his rebounding has been particularly impressive, averaging 4.5 rebounds per game, more than double his 2.2 last season.

Fans are hoping that Jong-hyun can overcome his concerns and regain the reputation of his former first-round draft pick.

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