For Hyunjoong Lee 온라인카지노(23, Illawarra Hawks), the next challenge is the Australian National Basketball League (NBL).
After returning home from the NBA G League and Summer League, Lee signed a three-year contract with the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks. Ahead of his departure for Australia in three days, Lee held a press conference with domestic reporters at his hotel in Seoul on the 2nd.
- Why did you decide to play in Australia?
Many people are unfamiliar with the Australian league, but it is a very competitive league. It’s meaningful for me to go there for the first time. I went to high school in Australia. I’m looking forward to the challenges.
- After your rehab, you tried out for the NBA G League and Summer League.
I felt a lot of things. When I went to the G League, it was six or seven months after my injury. I wasn’t 100 percent. I was rehabbing hard for the Summer League. I didn’t get a lot of minutes in the Summer League. I think it’s an experience. I don’t think there are many players who are mentally prepared when they don’t play. I tried to show my strengths even while I wasn’t playing. I wanted to show that I was ready. It was the first time I didn’t play healthy.
- Why did you decide to come to Australia if your ultimate goal is the NBA?
I could have stayed in the G-League. A lot of NBA players have come out of the Australian league recently. They have the Next Star program. Scouts watch the NBL a lot. We have a five-star guard named AJ Johnson on our team. He was going to the University of Texas, but he came to us. Playing more in Australia than in the G-League can make you more visible to scouts.
- In the Summer League, they didn’t give you the ball, which is a disadvantage for shooters.
The coach of the Australian team is close to the head coach of the Australian NBA Academy. He knows what kind of player I am. There are four guys I played with in Australia. It’s an excuse to say I didn’t play well because of the environment. In Summer League, everybody is selfish to get a chance. A catch-and-shooter like me might not get a chance. Honestly, if I blame myself, I feel like I’m the only one who’s not good enough. I’m still learning what I need to work on.
- In the Summer League, you showed strengths in three-point shooting and rebounding.
I have a reputation as a three-point shooter, but I’m still working on refining it. Defense and athleticism are his weaknesses. I’m aware of them. I practice every day to make up for it. I don’t feel like I’m behind physically. I realized how important it is to catch up and recover quickly and communicate. Talking in tough situations is the hard part. Guys like Tucker and Green do a lot of talking. On defense, my slow feet continue to be a weakness that I’m trying to work on.
- Your contract with the Australian team was leaked to the media during the Summer League.
It wasn’t finalized then. The story broke before I played in the Summer League and I panicked. I just wanted to focus on Summer League. It didn’t affect me.
- Do you think you’ll still be in the G League next season?
The Australian announcement came in the middle of Summer League, and there was no talk of the G League. I didn’t get to show much in Summer League. It depends on how well I do in the Australian League. The season ends early. I might try the G League again. There are a lot of options.
- You trained with the Philadelphia Knicks coach in Summer League.
We didn’t do much together. He only worked out one day and coached one game in Utah. There wasn’t a lot of conversation. What I remember is that he told me that it’s okay to be rough on defense in the NBA. He said it’s a league with a lot of offensive players, and it’s hard to call a short touch as a foul. It’s not very characteristic.
- Australia is a very physical league.
That’s why I chose Australia. If you don’t know the Aussie League, you don’t know the level. It’s a tougher league with tighter spacing than the NBA. I’m excited to see how much we can improve in that league.
- What are some of the challenges in the U.S.?
When I was in Korea, I was in a group, so I didn’t do anything for myself. I had to make them work out. It’s a competition in the U.S. or Australia. It’s a completely separate life, so if I didn’t choose to do it, no one would help me. I understood what kind of person I was. In Korea, I moved mechanically. In the U.S., I got feedback on my behavior and made a lot of improvements.
- What is your most regrettable match?
I tend to forget the past quickly. Getting injured was a big one. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t gotten injured. It made me more mature. I’m not complaining.
- You’re missing the Asian Games because you haven’t resolved your military service issue?
I only focus on the present. I’m thinking about it. If it’s a national team event, I want to play. It’s an honor to represent my country. It’s just that it’s the first time we’re going to Australia and we have to compete, and it’s hard to miss camp and play for the national team. The Aussie League is also an important opportunity. I decided it was right to pay attention to Australia. As for the military, there is a chance for the Asian Games in four years. I’ll focus on Australia first.
- Do you still want to play in the KBL in the future?
As much as possible, I want to play and challenge myself in the U.S. I’m not thinking about the future right now. As a Korean, I was looking forward to playing in the Korean League. If there are more opportunities in the future, I’m sure Dae-Sung will continue to challenge himself like his older brother. I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now. I don’t know what the future holds. I want to continue to challenge myself overseas.
- If the NBA offered you a job in Australia, would you go immediately?
I can go on any contract, even 10 days. They offered me a good deal to become an NBA player.
- What are the reactions of those around you?
Sometimes it’s exhausting because the challenges are long. People’s expectations can be a burden, but they also inspire me. I try to turn expectations into motivation. I try to push myself. I don’t care about the criticism that I shouldn’t go abroad. It’s a challenge that I love. I’m listening to the important people around me.
- Why did you sign a 2+1 year contract with the team?
There is no particular reason. The offer came that way. It’s a stage where I can challenge myself in a stable way. I didn’t consider joining the military.
- Choi Jun-yong also considered going overseas with you?
He rehabbed with his brother last year, and he’s a top player in the KBL, so he needs a new stimulus. I’m sure he also wants to go out. He has a lot to gain from playing with a good player. When I see my brother, I watch the NBA and tell him I want to be like him someday.
- How did you meet Curry while playing for Santa Cruz in the Warriors’ G League?
Santa Cruz was practicing at the Warriors’ home arena. I saw Curry by accident. It was like a dream. I knew him from high school, and he said hello first. He knew I had a foot injury. He told me that the G League is tough and it’s not easy, but to work hard.
- Do you have any contact with retired Davidson coach Bob McKillop?
I just ask him how he’s doing. He’s been coaching for a long time, so he’s taking a break. I just ask him how he’s doing. He became a grandfather. He’s a great support.