“My goal is to advance to the final Olympic qualifiers.”
The women’s basketball team, led by head coach Jeong Seon-min (49), announced the final list of 12 players who will participate in the 2023 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup to be held in June. The Asian Cup also serves as a regional qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The national team must finish in the top 4 in the Asian Cup to advance to the final qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which will be held in February next year.
Coach Jeong Seon-min took office as the national team commander in 2021 and is leading the national team. He finished fourth in the 2021 Asian Cup. In last year’s Basketball World Cup, it won the finals for the first time in 12 years. Coach Jeong Seon-min said, “We have to work hard to advance to the Paris Olympics.”크크크벳
◆ Park Ji-soo’s comeback, but
a welcome name appeared in the national team this time. Park Ji-soo (25, KB Stars), who was diagnosed with panic disorder and failed to join the national team last year, returned. Director Jeong Seon-min said, “(Park) Ji-soo is very helpful. However, it is not yet a situation where you can digest every game full-time. We have to change when there is an index and when there is no index,” he said. “The mental is not perfect yet. You have to manage it step by step. We plan to use it in a way that does not burden the index.” Coach Jeong Seon-min plans to change the training program to match Park Ji-soo.
However, guards have an injury variable. Park Hye-jin, who was always called up for the national team, missed due to injury. She filled the position with Lee Kyung-eun (36, Shinhan Bank). Director Jeong Seon-min said, “I wanted to pick (Park) Hye-jin. However, there was an aftermath of injuries at the end of the season. Even during the championship match, I wasn’t in good shape. After the season, I met coach Wi Sung-woo and Hye-jin. Besides the plantar injury she had, her knee was also not good. He needed time to recover.”
“Lee Kyung-eun has a good basketball sense. He had a lot of injuries during that time, so he also managed his team. He had an ace level performance last season. He held up well through the season and I wanted to use him in the national team as well,” he added.
◆ Generation change gradually
After last year’s Basketball World Cup, Danbi Kim (33, Woori Bank), Hyeyun Bae (34, Samsung Life Insurance), and Hyejin Park suggested retirement from the national team. Danbi Kim was named to the final roster for the Asian Cup. Coach Jeong said, “I know that the players said that in a difficult situation after the tournament. I know that players have different thoughts,” he said. “The reason Hyejin and Hyeyoon were excluded this time is because of their physical condition. Danbi, who is showing the best skills, should definitely go to the national team.”
“I think the generational change happens naturally. If there is a chance, I think it would be good to go to the Paris Olympics next year. The generational change is a gradual process,” he explained.
◆ The goal of the Asian Cup is that the semi-
final team will be convened on the 15th at the Jincheon National Training Center. After training for about two weeks, I will leave for Latvia for field training. Last year, the first domestic evaluation match continued. Coach Jeong Seon-min said, “On June 4, I will go to Latvia for overseas training. Invited from Latvia. It is not easy to play practice games in Korea. I will return after playing 3 games in Latvia. It’s a good opportunity.”
The national team, ranked 12th in the FIBA rankings, is tied in a group with China (2nd), New Zealand (29th) and Lebanon (44th) in the Asia Cup. Head coach Jeong Seon-min aimed at New Zealand and Lebanon. Coach Jeong said, “You have to place in the top 4 in the Asian Cup to get a ticket for the final Olympic qualifier. 2nd place in Group A is the goal. You have to catch both the first two games. That way, they can play the final match against China without any burden. Then it will be easy,” he said.
The FIBA Asia Cup is divided into two groups of four teams each. 1st place in each group advances directly to the quarterfinals, and 2nd and 3rd place in each group will play the semifinal match. The 2nd place in Group A will face the 3rd place in Group B, and the 2nd place in Group B will meet the 3rd place in Group A.