Former national team center Lee Jong-hyeon (28‧203cm) moves to Jeonju KCC. On the 1st, KCC announced that it had sent Kim Jin-yong and Park Jae-hyun to Goyang Carrot and recruited Lee Jong-hyun. There was no big deal like the rumors that were circulating in the world, but it is evaluated as a solid recruitment from the perspective of KCC, which is low in height. KCC’s overall height, including too many short guards, is pointed out as a problem, and to make matters worse, even the main power forward Lee Seung-hyun (30, 197cm) is out with an injury. The recruitment of Lee Jong-hyun is interpreted as an extension of that situation.

In fact, considering the value of his name alone, Lee Jong-hyun is not a player that can be brought in so easily. He is a large big man who was highly anticipated to play in the center of the national team already during his college days. With a wingspan of 223cm, if you only look at the height-to-height reach, it’s a number that belongs to the top ranks in the NBA. In addition, he had mobility and elasticity, so when he was at his best, he took a lot of activity with his large body and showed off his terrifying power to the extent that he even succeeded in an alley-oop dunk in real combat.

Lee Jong-hyun showed off his extraordinary presence since high school and drew attention as a pillar of the national team to succeed Seo Jang-hoon and Kim Joo-seong. During his time at Gyeongbok High School, he formed a twin tower with Choi Jun-yong, and in his junior year, he showed great strength by grabbing 42 rebounds against Park In-tae of Gyeseong High School, who was ranked second in the center rankings of the same grade. Based on this rising trend, he was even selected as an adult national team for the London Olympics men’s basketball final qualifier, and was even awarded the title of high school student national team in six years after Choi Jin-soo.

The days of Korea University were indeed the era of Lee Jong-hyun. He made a double post with Lee Seung-hyun, who was called the ‘boss tiger’, and was evaluated as the twin tower of the past, connecting Han Ki-beom-Kim Yoo-taek and Song Young-jin-Kim Joo-seong, who led the heyday of Chung-Ang University. As if to prove this, they swept various competitions, including the MBC Cup College Basketball League, the Korea University Basketball League, the Pro-Ama Basketball Championship, and the Asia-Pacific University Basketball Challenge, creating a world under Korea University. Many titles followed, including Rookie of the Year and multiple MVPs.

He also participated in the Incheon Asian Games and contributed to the Korean national team winning the Asian Games for the first time in 12 years. He even received a military service exemption for winning the gold medal, so it seemed that there was nothing rough in Lee Jong-hyun’s basketball life. It was an injury that held back Lee Jong-hyun, who was considered the next-generation national pillar center. Having suffered from large and small injuries since his college days, his body collapsed rapidly when he came to the pros.

His instep stress fracture, Achilles tendon rupture, patella rupture, cruciate ligament rupture, and shoulder injury continued, and his physical condition worsened as the season went on. He eventually lost his confidence and is now in a difficult situation where he is expected to play more than a backup center. Various causes such as his unsystematic rehabilitation process and excessive weight gain are being analyzed as reasons, but it is already spilled water. From Lee Jong-hyun’s point of view, he has no choice but to check his physical condition as much as possible and try to show a better image.

Lee Jong-hyun, who was in good shape during his early days as a professional player, was quite powerful. Although he didn’t live up to expectations, he was responsible for double-digit scoring over two seasons, averaging over 7 rebounds and over 1.5 blocked shots. When he caught the ball near the post, he easily scored under the goal with a smooth pivoting motion, and hit a high-precision middle shot when he wanted to drop a little distance.

His fingertips were good, and his flight distance was considerable. His face-up attack, in which he pretends to shoot a middle shot, then rushes in and puts it up after a spin move, was also one of the weapons that made it difficult for the opposing defense team. When Lee Jong-hyun was holding up near the bottom of the goal, his teammates were relatively comfortable shooting or driving in. This is because he is good at kicking rebounds from behind with his long wingspan, retrieving missed shots or connecting them with tap shots. 

The dunk shot, which he put in without delay if the timing was right, was also powerful. He mainly used two-handed dunks near the post and one-handed dunks when running from a distance. Unlike his large size, he is not slow on his feet, so he actively participated in fast attacks and scored well. After stealing, he hit with a one-man fast attack and was able to finish with a dunk shot.

His presence was high not only in the offense but also in the defense. His cover radius was wide enough to come up to the 3-point line and defend, but above all, he had a good block shot ability, so foreign players had a hard time. He struggled with a foreign big man in the post, aiming for a block shot, and chased a foreign swingman with good break-through power and knocked it from behind or from the side. It is not easy to find a native big man who has been this good at block shots since Kim Joo-sung.

In a situation where veteran Ham Ji-hoon was holding on, even Lee Jong-hyun played an active role as a foreign big man, so Hyundai Mobis, the team at the time, was able to select one of the foreign players as a swing man and use more diverse tactics. However, Lee Jong-hyun, who showed potential in the first two seasons, began to falter in his third season, and then collapsed as if completely ruined between the 2019 and 2021 seasons.

His performance is also good, but his contribution to the team has fallen to the point that his playing time was cut in half. It is analyzed that the reason for the decrease in physical ability due to injury was the biggest. At least after being traded to Goyang Carrot (former Orion), his performance is improving little by little. It falls far short of Lee Jong-hyun’s expectations in the past, but compared to the time when he was at his worst, there is hope.

As can be seen from the fact that he gave away a backup player, few people expect Lee Jong-hyun to perform as well as before. However, in a situation where the bottom of the goal is already weak and Lee Seung-hyun has also been injured, KCC would be satisfied if he could give strength to the post even for 10 to 15 minutes. In addition, if the physical condition improves and shows more activity than that, it is the best result. 먹튀검증

Among KCC fans, there are many opinions to make the recruitment of Lee Jong-hyun one of the cards for counterattack next season rather than the current one. Now that Lee Seung-hyun has fallen out, the red light is on for KCC to advance to the playoffs. It is being pushed back by competing teams in terms of the quantity and quality of its players, and the balance by position is not good. For this reason, the opinion that the priority is to develop the team’s own competitiveness by evenly using backup players rather than overwork the key players is gaining persuasive power.

Currently, Lee Jong-hyun is in a state where it is difficult to be active in all directions like he used to be. However, since he still has the advantage of being tall, he can be expected as a backup center by simplifying his role. In particular, the fact that he has his best friend Lee Seung-hyun is a good thing from Lee Jong-hyun’s point of view. It can be a good combination in defense as well as psychologically. Lee Seung-hyun is a player with a wide range of defense based on his diligent activity.

However, due to the limitations of an undersized big man, his vertical defense is limited. On the other hand, Lee Jong-hyun, who has poor mobility, has weakened in horizontal defense, but is still useful in vertical defense. This is why synergies are expected while filling in each other’s shortcomings. Song Gyo-chang, who will return from Sangmu, is a player who can participate in the defense in all weathers, going back and forth, so he can fill in what Lee Jong-hyun lacks.

If Song Kyo-chang and Lee Seung-hyun maintain healthy physical condition, and Kim Sang-gyu and Lee Jong-hyun play a good role as backups, it is worth considering continuing to accompany swingman-style foreign player Ronde Hollis Jefferson (28‧198cm). Let’s pay attention to whether Lee Jong-hyun, who earned the dishonorable nickname of ‘Korea’s Greg Orden’ due to repeated injuries, can spread his wings of resurrection at KCC. #Writing_Kim Jong- soo

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