Heo Jae, in his late 30s, defeated the season’s strongest team, Samsung.

During the 2000-01 season, the strongest team in KBL was by far the Samsung Thunder. In a situation where the team had repeatedly failed to meet expectations and was unable to maintain its reputation as a famous player during its unemployment period, the team selected big-time rookie Lee Gyu-seop as the first overall pick, and the foreign forward Artimus McClary Card, who did not have high expectations, became a huge hit, and many other things. Several good news occurred at once, and the team quickly became a strong team.

In addition to Lee Kyu-seop and McClary, Samsung’s strength was at a level that overwhelmed the remaining 9 teams as of the season, with a solid roster of players at each position, including Joo Hee-jung, Kang Hyuk, Moon Kyung-eun, Kim Hee-sun, and Mustafa Hope. LG’s outside basketball team, led by Seong-won Cho, Woo-hyun Jo, Jeong-rae Lee, and Eric Eberts, also created a fresh sensation, but it was difficult to handle Samsung. Samsung comfortably took first place in the regular league and easily defeated LG in the championship game with 4 wins and 1 loss, creating a comprehensive victory.

The team that caused the biggest upset in the first round of the regular season against the powerful Samsung was none other than Wonju Sambo (currently DB). At the time, Samsung was on a steep upward trend with six consecutive wins. The power and atmosphere were all good, so it didn’t look like the losing streak would end, but unexpectedly, Sambo put the brakes on it.

It was difficult to predict. In a situation where Sambo was behind in terms of objective power, even tall foreign player Maurice Jordan (45, 204cm) was unable to play due to injury. It was almost strange that he caught that game. However, as if to prove the saying ‘the ball is round’, the Sambo players on this day, led by Jae Heo, were in good shape. In the end, they even had the luxury of introducing a large number of candidates at the end of the game, and achieved a comfortable victory of 107 to 94.

2000-01 season regular league 1st round, <Sambo (home) vs. Samsung (away)>

Up to this point, Samsung has continued a perfect winning streak, not allowing a single loss, including exhibition games. Even considering the unexpectedness of a professional game, it was true that there was no picture of Sambo, even without a foreign center, preventing it. The guard team led by Joo Hee-jeong (46·180cm) and Kang Hyuk (47·187cm) had a very high energy level in offense and defense.

He ran and ran like crazy to attack the opponent’s front line, and the synergy between Joo Hee-jung, who is strong in running basketball, and Kang Hyeok, who is good at reading and passing games with more than a decent number 1, was great. In addition, Kim Hee-sun (50, 187 cm), who would have been a starter on other teams, provided solid support at the back, earning envy as they were evaluated as a ‘guard kingdom’.

The underside of the goal was also strong. Artimus McClary (50·191cm) was a jackpot for Samsung. Previously, Samsung began looking for a new face after not renewing the contract with foreign big man Burnell Singleton, who contributed to the team’s advancement to the semifinals for two consecutive seasons. However, he was pushed down to the 10th place in the foreign draft and found himself in an awkward situation.

Otherwise, all the tall foreign players who were considered useful were taken away by other teams, so McCleary, the type of forward who goes back and forth between 3rd and 4th positions, is selected without much expectation. As mentioned earlier, the hiring of McClary turned out to be a godsend, even though it was not intended. He was an all-around player with not only power and technique but also a long shooting range.

As McClary plays the role of a clear ace in the attack, foreign center Mustafa Hope (51, 201 cm) focuses on difficult tasks such as defense, resulting in a good synergy effect. In addition, national team shooter Moon Kyeong-eun (52, 190cm) fired a lot of shots from the outside, and rookie Lee Gyu-seop (46, 198cm) played all-around in offense and defense, going back and forth between the inside and outside.

As there were strong players in each position, lamentations that ‘there was nothing to attack’ were heard among other teams. However, in Sambo, there was Heo Jae (58·188cm). Although he was a veteran in his late 30s and looking to retire at the time, he still had his unique competitive spirit. Due to the decline in physical ability due to age, the ups and downs in each game were getting worse, but if it was caught on a day when conditions were good, it would be difficult for any team to stop it. 

Coincidentally, that day was the day when Heo Jae’s performance improved. Rather than being discouraged by the fact that a foreign big man could not appear, he had steeled his mind in a combative direction, as if protesting, saying, ‘So, what should I do?’ Heo Jae scored a whopping 37 points (5 3-pointers), including 17 points in the second quarter alone.

Not only did he score points in a variety of ways, including drive-ins, mid-range jumpers, and 3-point shots, but he also caused many fouls from the Samsung defense through attacks that took away his unique timing. The player who led Sambo along with Heo Jae was ‘Bullet Man’ Shin Ki-seong (40·180cm). In his later years, Heo Jae participated a lot not only in attacking but also in leading.

He originally had a wide field of view and excellent passing ability, and in addition to his main position, shooting guard, he could also play point guard, but he mainly played number 2 during his prime. This is because he was an ace who had to serve as the main scorer no matter which team he belonged to or the national team. However, as he got older, he acknowledged that his scoring machine style had its limits and seemed to pay a lot of attention to his role in solving the game through passes.

The chemistry between seasoned shooting guard Heo Jae and aggressive young point guard Shin Ki-seong was good. During his Sambo days, Heo Jae was a shooting guard메이저사이트 but played a high role in leading, and Shin Ki-seong was a point guard but showed strength in attack. Therefore, there were many plays where Heo Jae gave a pass and Shin Ki-seong received it. They were partners that suited each other well.

Heo Jae, who was in exceptionally good condition that day, scored a high score while carefully observing the movements of his teammates in the empty space, and as a result, John Wassenberg (49·191cm), who was called the ‘white tank’, was able to score as many as 30 points. This is because Heo Jae’s quality passes continued to go in at the right timing as long as he was positioned near the bottom of the goal.

As Heo Jae and Wasenberg led the scoring, Shin Ki-seong and Yang Kyung-min, who had been in poor condition for several games, also came back to life. Shin Ki-seong scored 10 points, including successive breakthroughs against Joo Hee-jung, who was in full swing, and starting small forward Yang Gyeong-min (51, 193 cm) also hit 3-point shots from outside opportunities, scoring 15 points.

As the team’s overall performance improved, the sixth men also contributed. Jeong Kyung-ho (53, 202 cm) played twice as long as his usual playing time and scored 8 points through shots below the goal. He took advantage of his physique and actively competed with the Samsung center team, filling much of the empty space left by foreign centers. Rookies Park Jong-deok (46, 196 cm) and Yeon Je-seok (46, 193 cm) also showed off their rookie-like grit through defense and hustle play.

Samsung, which had performed well before, lost momentum from the beginning and most players were unable to find their pace throughout the game. With only McClary (45 points, 2 3-pointers) struggling, Lee Gyu-seop supported the attack, and Moon Kyung-eun, who was supposed to lead the attack from the outside, was blocked by Yang Kyung-min’s defense, scored no points and was sent off for 5 fouls, etc. The overall team performance was poor. This wasn’t good. Sambo this season was far from a strong team, but on this day, I was not envious of the championship candidates.

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