A ‘baby peregrine falcon’ flaps its wings… “I’d still choose the same if I were number one,” says head coach

‘Baby peregrine falcon’ flaps its wings. This is the story of Yoo Yoo-sang (22, 188 cm).

Changwon LG defeated Anyang Jungkwanjang 106-77 in the regular season of the 2023-2024 Korean Professional Basketball League on Sunday at Anyang Gymnasium. LG has won five straight games to move into sole possession of fourth place (6-4).

Asem Marei (21 points, 17 rebounds, and six assists) and Yang Hong-seok (19 points, five rebounds, and six assists) were the standout performers, while “Baby Peregrine” Yoo Ji-sang also made his presence felt in the starting lineup.

In the past, LG has struggled to capitalize on the shooting opportunities that come from Marei’s dominance under the basket. But this day was different. From the first quarter, the desired picture emerged.

Marei grabbed an offensive rebound and drew the attention of three defenders. He then made an outlet pass to get Yoo Sang open. Yoo made a clean three-pointer and was one of the reasons LG set the tone early in the game.

Yoo didn’t stop there, as he found his shooting touch with his first shot of the game. Jung Kwan-jang tried to keep the momentum going with a three-pointer from Choi Sung-won. After fooling his defender with a shot fake, Yoo kept the momentum going with a second three-pointer.

Another three-pointer that found the rim in the third quarter belonged to Altoran. At the start of the second half, the team had a brief moment of crisis as they lost back-to-back baskets to Park Ji-hoon and Daryl Monroe. A three-pointer from Yoo put out the fire.

Yoo ended up with 11 points and a 100% three-point shooting percentage (3-of-3). It was his second career double-digit scoring performance. His season stats show he has played in eight games, averaging 7.3 points and 1.5 three-pointers per game on 42.9 percent shooting.

The 2023 KBL Domestic Rookie Draft was dubbed the ‘Moon Yoo-bak’ draft. Selected by LG with the third overall pick, Yoo is leading the rookie of the year race against his rivals. No. 1 pick Moon Jung-hyun (KT) is averaging just 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in nine games, while No. 2 pick Park Mubin (Hyundai Mobis) has yet to make a first-team appearance due to an ankle injury.

The head coach was pleased with the performance. LG coach Cho Sang-hyun said, “It’s a great performance. I’ve been watching him since college. Even if I had the first pick, I would have picked (Yoo) Ki-sang. Either the shot goes in or it doesn’t, it’s just an option. I’m always giving him homework on defense and he’s doing a great job.”

It’s still early in the season, but the wings of the ‘baby peregrine falcon’ Yoo are already flapping higher. His performance is all the more remarkable because LG has a deep roster of players. It will be interesting to see how far he can take his wings this season. 캡틴토토 도메인

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