Park Ji-hoon’s (29, 184 cm) blossoming is a work in progress. 스포츠토토
The Korea Basketball Association (KBA) announced the 16-man roster for the national men’s basketball team’s reinforcement training for the 2023 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers and the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games in a press release on Saturday. One name that stands out is Park Ji-hoon. After helping Anyang KGC to the title, Park will wear the Korean flag on his chest for the first time in his career.
“It feels great to be selected,” Park said. On the one hand, I had my doubts. There aren’t many players who are so good. Not only me, but I think the fans thought so too. I will do my best to make the fans think, ‘Oh, this player deserves to be on the national team,'” he said.
As a student, Park was never selected for the youth national team. He wasn’t a national soccer star, but he steadily improved his game, and even after turning pro, he showed improvement every season. As a result, he was honored with his first national team call-up.
“When I was in college, I was selected for the Korea National Team and the Universiade, but the feeling is completely different. It’s not just the best athletes from my country, and I’m so honored to be included. I’ve always dreamed of representing my country, and I want to experience and learn as much as possible, and if I get the chance, I want to play well. First of all, I think I should approach it with the idea of learning.” Park said.
In 2023, Park has been on a roll. He won the regular season, the East Asian Super League (EASL) Champions Week, and the playoffs. He won the first championship of his career three times, including while still in school. After the regular season, he won the Sixth Man and Play of the Season awards, got married, and started a family. The good things came one after the other when he was selected to the national team.
“From elementary school to the pros, I hadn’t won a championship, but this year I’ve already done it three times. I also won awards and got married. On my honeymoon, I got the news that I was selected for the national team, and I feel like I’m getting a lot of luck this year. I’ll try to prepare better so that good things can continue to happen,” he laughed.
The 16 players, including Park, will convene at the Jincheon Athletes’ Village on June 21. After that, the team will get in shape and take part in an evaluation game against Japan scheduled for July 22 and 23 at Jamsil Student Gymnasium.
Park said, “I think coach Choo Il-seung and coach Lee Hoon-jae saw my merits and selected me. I want to show my abilities to the fullest, and I hope to grow to the next level while training. If I get to play in the trial against Japan, I will work hard to show people why I was selected,” he said.