“It’s disappointing, but I will prove my worth to the remaining 9 clubs.”
Two years ago, in 2021, Laguna had the second special naturalization draft. Unlike Jeonju KCC, Ulsan Hyundai Mobis, and Seoul SK in the first draft, in the second draft, KCC went out alone, creating a contradictory scene.
In the days when there were various control devices, starting with height restrictions for foreign players, Laguna was a foreign player that all clubs wanted. This is because he has all the conditions to have, including a solid body, tireless stamina, and excellent finishing ability.
However, as the foreign player system was changed to a free contract, the value of Laguna decreased little by little. Above all, the atmosphere was dominated by the search for bigger and stronger foreign players, considering various aspects such as the decline in skills that would appear over time.
In that way, La Gun-ah headed to the arms of KCC, the sole bidder, and is currently in his 2nd season. If so, is he keeping to what he said two years ago? As of the end of the first half of the 2022-23 season, Laguna is still the best.
Laguna is averaging 17.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 28 minutes and 39 seconds in 31 appearances. He is ranked 4th in points and 2nd in rebounds based on foreign players who have played in more than 30 games. Because of him, KCC also overcame the sluggishness in the beginning and finished the first half in a tie for 5th place with a win rate of 16-15 or more than 50%.
Of course, Laguna of the world also suffered hardships when KCC collapsed. In particular, in the second round, where the sluggishness was extreme, he played 9 games and recorded 13.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists for an average of 24 minutes and 52 seconds. His rebounding was still excellent, but his poor scoring ability in the early 10s was definitely not like Laguna.
It was a time when Laguna, who did not suit being tired at all, was struggling to even participate in a quick attack. His decline in stamina was noticeable and his bottom finish was not good either.
Even KCC coach Jeon Chang-jin showed a puzzled look, saying, “I don’t think it’s the Laguna I knew.” La Gun-ah also said, “As he gets older, it seems that his retirement time is approaching. The situation at the time was so bad that he confessed, “Even his confidence, which had been high until now, has fallen.”
However, Laguna miraculously rebounded from the 3rd round. He recorded 20.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 blocked shots in an average of 29 minutes and 55 seconds, signaling a comeback. During this time, KCC also recorded 6 wins and 3 losses, rising to the middle ranks at once. KBL’s 5th record breaking 10,000 points was also achieved at this time. A KCC official said, “Through the third round, domestic players such as Heo Woong, Lee Seung-hyun, and Jeong Chang-young did well, but above all, (D) Geon-ah survived, so we were able to achieve good results.”
Ragana, who gained momentum once, is raging in the 4th round as well. He averaged 29 minutes and 46 seconds played over 4 games, averaging 19.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocked shots, putting up a better record than round 3.
If you look at the record, it is Laguna who is competing for the top spot with Jamil Warney, Omari Spellman, and Gage Prim. His presence is not pushed by them. In particular, it is a very positive part that it is getting better and better as the rounds are played. His existence, which draws an upward curve without ups and downs, makes the second half of KCC more anticipated.
Will Laguna be able to keep her promise with such an active performance in the second half? His performance, which will come back 100% charged after the All-Star break, is expected to be more spectacular than the first half.