Sono’s biggest man on the court, Lee Jung-hyun, “We played one step ahead of SK”

“Everyone played an extra step on defense. We felt we played more than our opponent.”

Goyang Sono defeated Seoul SK 75-62 in the sixth round of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball League at Jamsil Student Gymnasium on Jan. 19. The eighth-ranked SONO has a season record of 18 wins and 33 losses. Their lead over seventh-place Daegu KOGAS has been cut to two and a half games.

Lee Jung-hyun (187 cm, G) exploded for 34 points, six rebounds, nine assists, and four steals in 38 minutes and 42 seconds. He shot about 67% from the field while pouring in 34 points. He also shot about 55% from three-point range, hitting six. The game was a showcase for Lee.

“We played really well,” Lee said after the game. Every player stepped up on defense. I felt we played more than our opponent. We were always out-activated against SK. SK played more in the fast break and on defense. In this game, it was the opposite. The guys worked really hard and played well. That was the key to our victory,” he said.

“Every team puts a lot of pressure on me, even if their defense is different. They try to keep me from getting the ball or make it difficult for me to play. I try to break those defenses, and I feel myself growing in the process. I also realize that different defenses require different approaches. In the 2023-2024 season, I overcame a lot of defenses. In 2024-2025, we’ll be even better. We will play as hard in the remaining six rounds as we did today.”

Lee has played 36 minutes and 15 seconds per game in 41 games up to this point. That’s two minutes and 15 seconds more than Jamil Warney (198 cm, C), who is second in minutes played. Is there a fitness issue?

“I don’t think there’s a fitness issue. I play a lot and do a lot of activities. But the coach (Kim Seung-ki) takes care of me. I also rested the day before. That’s why I can give my all on the court. Your schedule has been tight lately. I honestly didn’t think I could play this long (laughs), but the coach said I should play 40 minutes. We’re playing well. I’m excited. I don’t feel tired,” he smiled.

Sono coach Kim Seung-ki was disappointed to miss out on the quarterfinals. “If I hadn’t gotten injured, I might have still been able to compete in the last six. It was my first major injury since I turned pro. I had to take a long break. This is all experience. It’s a growing process. I will try not to get injured in the 2024-2025 season.”

“I am confident that I can do as much in the 2024-2025 season as I did in the 2023-2024 season. As a player, you have to be confident. Whatever role the coach gives you, you have to accept it as a player. It’s natural. You have to contribute to the team,” he concluded the press conference.

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