“If it weren’t for the injury, I would have hit a career high last season.”
Ulsan Hyundai Mobis won 85-70 in an away game against Seoul Samsung in the 2022-23 SKT Adot Professional Basketball Round 4 held at Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium on the 27th, and ran a 4-game winning streak.
The first contributor to victory was Jang Jae-seok. He played 20 minutes and 34 seconds, recording 15 points and 4 rebounds, completely dominating Samsung’s goal without Lee Won-seok.
After the game, Jang Jae-seok said, “It was a game we had to win if we were to continue fighting for rankings, and fortunately we got good results. (Cho Dong-hyun) It worked well when the director told me not to be vigilant and to be stronger and more active from the beginning. It is the factor of victory,” he said. “In the end, I am so grateful to (Lee) Woo-seok, (Seo) Myung-jin, and (Gage) Prim and other good players.” 안전놀이터
From Samsung’s point of view, Jang Jae-seok was like an ‘Attack on Titan’. When he caught the ball under the goal, he rushed towards the rim, and his initial defensive plan collapsed. Jang Jae-seok led the way by scoring 11 points in the first quarter alone.
Jang Jae-seok said, “We tried to focus more because we had a high advantage over Samsung. No matter which of the domestic players he meets, he has confidence behind the goal. The moment a domestic player, not a foreign player, comes along, I try to be confident.”
After producing overwhelming results in the 2018-19 season, Hyundai Mobis has been undervalued every year since. Due to the retirement of Yang Dong-geun, who dominated KBL for a long time, and the aging of Ham Ji-hoon, he was not mentioned as a championship candidate at all. However, even during retooling, only a handful of them fell significantly. Basically, it can be seen that the strength of the team itself, Hyundai Mobis, is great. This season, too, the resignation of head coach Yoo Jae-hak seemed to be a big blow, but the team is in third place with a 0.6% win rate.
Regarding this, Jang Jae-seok said, “The defense emphasized by the coach, and the quick attack game after the rebound comes out naturally. Until then, Prim and (Ham) Ji-hoon had older brothers, so the bottom of the goal was fine, but the fast attack did not come out, so it was difficult. Now, if you play well, you can win. I think that is the reason for the upward trend.”
It was Jang Jae-seok who did not forget about Prim, who had risen to the top as a foreign player. “I think he is a 100 out of 100 player. Since he is a player who has a good amount of activity and saves the atmosphere of the team, he gains a lot of strength. He also gets motivated,” he said. “These days, he has the amount of activity required for basketball. He made good use of those strengths. He blocked it once, but he avoided it (laughs).”
However, to explain the rising trend of Hyundai Mobis, Jang Jae-seok cannot be left out. He took a break after the 2020-21 season, when he won the 5th Defensive Girl and the 6th Man Award. His orbital fracture injury plagued him throughout the 2021-22 season. He has been on the rise again since this season. As good plays in the past came out as they were, Hyundai Mobis further strengthened its power under the goal.
Jang Jae-seok said, “I heard that (Lee) Dae-seong will put 3 pins in if he has wrist surgery after this season. 3 is nothing. You have to put about 9 of them (laughs)” and “At that time, I couldn’t eat for about a month. He lost all his muscles and lost his quickness, so he couldn’t even dunk. It took him a season to get back to his old body,” he looked back.
“I prepared with the idea of rebuilding my body from scratch. Now it seems to be back to the good old days. As a result, I gained confidence and was able to play my own game. If he hadn’t been hurt, it would have been a career high last season. Still, when I look back, I think it is one of life.”