‘Super Rookie’ Moon Jung-hyun’s tough adjustment to the pros
Rookie No. 1 Moon Jung-hyun’s transition to the pros hasn’t been easy. “It’s not easy to adapt to the professional stage,” said Moon Jung-hyun himself.
Suwon KT won the first round of the 2023-2024 Jeonggwanjang Professional Basketball League at home against Goyang Sono 101-65 and 36 points at the Suwon KT Sonic Boom Arena on June 6. With its second consecutive win, KT moved into fifth place with a 3-3 record. It was also their first win at home. KT easily won the rebounding battle, grabbing more than twice as many boards as Sono, 48 to 22.
While foreign players Paris Bass and Ha Yoon-ki scored 21 points each, rookie Moon Jung-hyun chipped in with 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
After the game, Moon said, “I was upset that we didn’t win at home. I’m sorry for the fans, but I’m glad we won,” he said, adding, “We were able to win because our prepared defense worked well.”
After dominating the collegiate scene, Moon was the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s rookie draft, but the bar was high. In his first five games, he didn’t score more than five points, let alone double digits. He’s been playing in the D-League, the second-tier league, to help him adjust to the pros.
“It was hard to adjust to the professional stage,” Moon said, “In fact, I never played more than 20 minutes with the national team, and it was all in the last minute. It wasn’t easy physically,” he confessed.
“I was sleep deprived and stressed out,” he said. “I tried to change my mindset, and instead of thinking, ‘I have to show something,’ I tried to work harder to be the energy source for the team. I want to play hard and not feel stressed,” he added.
Moon Jung-hyun, who struggled to adjust in his debut, scored 12 points to reach double digits for the first time in his career. “From the beginning, we tried to take advantage of the height and work inside, and (Moon) did a great job in that area,” said KT coach Song Young-jin. He did a good job of grabbing rebounds,” he said, adding, “His chemistry with Paris Bass was good, and he’s getting better.”
However, Moon was not satisfied with her performance. “I think my performance today was only 40 points. I can see the court now,” he said, reflecting on his performance.
Even before his professional debut, Moon was recognized for his all-around game, including his scoring and passing abilities. However, he is not a very tall player at 194 centimeters, so there was a lot of interest in what position he would play in the pros.
Moon has been playing a variety of positions since joining KT. On this day, he played as a shooting guard (No. 2) and played a guard role. Despite his lack of speed, he actively participated under the basket and grabbed eight rebounds. He also received a passing grade in assisted reading as he recorded two assists.
“I’ve been preparing for the No. 2 position, and I think I can play both the No. 2 and No. 3 positions when (Moon) Sung-gon returns from his brother’s injury, and I’ll do whatever coach (Song) Young-jin asks,” Moon said.
While playing the 2, he also 토토사이트 defended Lee Jung-hyun, who has become one of the best guards in the KBL. Lee poured in 21 points against KT that day.
“Lee Jung-hyun has risen to become the best guard in the KBL,” Moon said, “and I had a rookie’s determination to beat him. There are some regrets, but I think we were able to stop them to some extent.”