The 2011 Jones Cup is one of the final tests for the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team as they gear up for the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China in September, where a slot for the 2012 London Olympics is at stake. InterAKTV breaks down each opponent for the Philippine team in the Tapei tournament.
Hur Jae is one of the deadliest players ever produced by South Korea. In Philippine lore, the sharpshooter is only second to the legendary Shin Dong Pa.
The name Hur Jae should ring a bell for a lot of basketball fans. He had numerous stints as player of the South Korean basketball team that played in the Asian Games, going up against the likes of Filipino stars such as Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, and Alvin Patrimonio, among others. The Korean deadshot still holds the record for points scored in the World Basketball Championships, when he tallied 60 points in a 117-115 win against Egypt in 1990.
Now the coach of the South Korean national team, Jae will try to bring his winning ways to a squad seeking to redeem its status as the best team in the region.
In 2009, South Korea under the tutelage of Jae, finished seventh in the FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship. It was the worst finish for the Koreans since participating in the event.
Lee Seung Jun won’t be around for South Korea to compete in the William Jones Cup. The deadshot forward, who emerged as the team’s leading scorer in the 2010 Asian Games, wasn’t included this year by Jae, but 6-foot-9 center Kim Joo-Sung and deadly gunner Cho-Sung Ming are still in the lineup.
Kim averaged 12 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in the Koreans’ silver medal campaign in last year’s Asiad.
Cho, on the other hand, was the steadiest three-point shooter, shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc last year and averaging of 10.4 points and 1.9 assists per game.
But the team will have a welcome addition in Seoul-born naturalized American Jarod Cameron Stevenson, who played and won the MVP award in the French League and played in the 2006 FIBA EuroCup All-Star game.
Although he’s no spring chicken as he will be turning 36, the 6-foot-6 Stevenson is expected to bring a lot of toughness to a Korean squad which will now have a new dimension to its game.
As if that’s not enough, South Korea will bring in a behemoth in 7-foot-3 Ha Seung Jin, who played in the NBA and the D-League.
Ha, whose sister, 6-foot-8 Ha-Eun Joo also played professional for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA, was a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004. Although he played limited minutes in last year’s Asian Games, he managed to contribute 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Another frontliner expected to perform solidly for the Koreans is Oh Se-Keun, a 6-foot-7 banger, who averaged 10.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in the 2009 FIBA-Asia Championship.
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