What do Lee Jong-hyun (30-Anyang Jungkwanjang) and Lee Won-seok (24-Seoul Samsung) have in common?
They’re both highly touted big man prospects who were drafted first overall in their professional debuts. Lee was the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, while Lee Won-seok is the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft.
They met as opponents in the 2023-2024 regular season game between Jungkwanjang and Samsung at Jamsil Gymnasium on April 14. Players from both teams shook hands and greeted each other as they entered the court to start the game.
Lee Jong-hyun also shook hands with the Samsung players, but not with Lee Won-seok, who came over to greet him and hugged him briefly before moving on to his own position. The six-year-old tumblers don’t know each other well, and they’ve never played on the same team, but Lee warmly greeted Lee Won-seok.
On this day, their fortunes were completely different. The veteran took advantage of Lee’s defense from the start, pouring in 11 points in the first quarter alone. Lee was unable to do anything against Lee, neither offensively nor defensively. He played 31 minutes and grabbed nine rebounds, but only scored four points. He took eight shots and made only two. His efficiency was also disappointing.
Chung led Samsung to an 81-63 victory. After the game, Lee Jong-hyun put his arm around Lee Won-seok’s shoulders and comforted him.
Why was Lee Jong-hyun so warm to Lee Won-seok?
“I saw (Lee) Won-seok and saw that he was down, and I know that feeling better than anyone, so I hugged him.”
Lee Jong-hyun answered after the match.
Let’s go back in time for a moment. When Jong-hyun was selected by the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, he was touted as a game-changing “super rookie”. Many basketball fans still remember the image of former Hyundai Mobis head coach Yoo Jae-hak cheering after picking the number one pick in the ranking lottery ceremony that preceded the draft. Jong-hyun was the kind of player who drew cheers from the league’s top names.
But the reality was harsh. Jong-hyun was not the center of the team. He was never able to play with confidence, and his energy was always low. To make matters worse, every year he suffered a major injury. He was expected to be a game-changer, but he never fulfilled his potential and became a junior player for Hyundai Mobis, Orion, and KCC. Before this season, he joined Jeonggwanjang as a free agent and is playing his eighth season 캡틴토토 주소.
Lee Won-seok, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, also failed to develop as expected. Unlike second-round pick Ha Yoon-ki (KT) and third-round pick Lee Jung-hyun (Sono), who have become top players in the league, Lee hasn’t even established himself in the team.
“I know what he’s going through and what he’s thinking, because I’ve been through it all, so I feel for him,” Lee said. “I hope he doesn’t get sick, health is the most important thing, and if he doesn’t get sick, he’ll definitely grow into a good player,” he added, supporting his junior.