“I prayed for KB to draft me as the No. 1 pick. I believe that if the local team is strong, it can be competitive in the professional arena”
When her daughter Ko Hyun-ji (18-182.2 cm) was selected by Cheongju KB as the No. 1 overall pick in the Korean Women’s Basketball League (WKBL)카지노사이트 draft, her mother, former national women’s basketball team member Cho Moon-ju (59), was overwhelmed with emotion but worried about the harsh survival competition in the professional stage.
Ko was drafted by KB as the No. 1 overall pick in the Korean Women’s Basketball League’s (WKBL) rookie draft for the 2023-2024 season at the Cheongju Gymnasium in Chungcheongbuk-do on Thursday.
Cho Moon-ju is a “basketball senior” who joined the then-unemployed Kookmin Bank in 1984 and served as the national team’s starting center at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1990 Beijing Asian Games.
Ko Hyun-ji joined KB on the same day, marking the second time a mother and daughter have played for the organization.
Cho Moon-ju (left) and Ko Hyun-ji.
[Photo courtesy of WKBL, all rights reserved].
“I stayed up all night because I couldn’t sleep,” Cho said in an interview after the draft. “When I heard that KB had won the first pick in the morning’s ranking lottery, I prayed fervently that Hyun-ji would be selected by KB as the first pick.”
When Ko Hyun-ji didn’t perform as well as usual at the tryouts leading up to the draft, Cho said, “I don’t think he’ll make it to the pros. I was so nervous that my heart was pounding in my ears, so I couldn’t perform properly,” Cho said.
However, Cho had no doubts about Ko’s No. 1 ranking.
“He’s 182 cm tall, but he can play all positions, including guard and forward, and last year he played center,” Cho said.
“Right now, he is too skinny (59 kilograms) and lacks both strength and fat, so his power is weak, but I think he can be competitive as a guard and forward if he gets stronger with systematic training in the pros for the next two to three years,” he analyzed.
“I expect him to become a much better player than when I played professionally for Kookmin Bank,” he said.
Cho Moon-ju, mother of Ko Hyun-ji
[Photo by Seol Ha-eun]
As a mother of a “Kookmin graduate,” Cho also coached Ko Hyun-ji herself.
One of the things she particularly valued was his ability to break through one-on-one.
“On the team, the coaches focus on team training,” she says. “If you have your own individual skills, it’s the icing on the cake in terms of being able to break through the opponent in a one-on-one situation,” says Cho. “I would watch the defense and let Hyun-ji attack, and I would help her with the finesse and technical aspects.
He also made sure to work on his shot.
“Basketball is all about the shot,” he said, “and the basics are the most important. “You have to shoot from overhead, and when he was shooting jump shots, he was shooting from right in front of you,” Cho said. “Even before the draft, I took him to the gym and kept him practicing his basic shooting form.
Getting drafted is hard enough, but Cho knows it’s even harder to survive and thrive in the pros.
“I’m more worried from now on,” Cho said, “I have to listen to my manager and coach at KB and watch my seniors play basketball to survive.”
The small pink Bible is a gift for her daughter, who is just starting out in the harsh professional world.
“In the professional life, there are so many hard things in training and various competitions, and I hope it will help her whenever she faces a difficult time,” Cho said.