Rebuilding in sports means that rather than aiming for the championship right away, it means strengthening the constitution of the team to lay the foundation to rise to the top within 3 or 4 years. Throughout KBL history, Anyang KGC is the team that best exemplified rebuilding.
In the 2010s, KGC succeeded in rebuilding after trade and perseverance, and took its place as a strong team representing the league by climbing to the top three times. The main players attracted fans not only with their skills but also with their outstanding looks, and were nicknamed ‘Ginseng Shinki’. This season, led by the 3rd Ginseng Shingi, they set a record of winning the 3rd wire-to-wire regular league championship in KBL history, and are aiming for the 2nd combined championship in their career. We looked back at the rebuilding history of KGC, which created the new ginseng machine.
※This article was published in the April issue of Jump Ball, a basketball magazine.
On April 30,
2009, KT&G, the predecessor of KGC, and Seoul SK conducted a one-to-two trade. Joo Hee-jeong headed to SK, and Kim Tae-sul and Kim Jong-hak wore KT&G uniforms. It was a trade that surprised everyone. Although Kim Tae-sul was evaluated as a promising point guard, Joo Hee-jung was the best star in the league, winning the regular league MVP in the 2008-2009 season. From this point on, KT&G, thinking of rebuilding, did not use Kim Tae-sul right away, but first solved the military service problem.
In the 2009-2010 season, instead of sending one-option foreign player Nigel Dixon to Busan KT (currently Suwon KT), he will receive Donald Little and the 2010 rookie draft 1st round pick. And in the 2010 rookie draft, he obtained the right to pick the first pick in the first round, and as the second-choice team was decided by KT, he had the good fortune to select all first and second-rank rookies at the same time. KGC nominated Park Chan-hee and Lee Jung-hyun and embraced two promising players at once.
The focus was taken by Oh Se-geun. In the 2011 rookie draft, KGC won the first overall pick once again. Coincidentally, KGC, which had a vacant position for a big man in Korea, selected Oh Se-geun, who was considered the biggest player at the time, without hesitation. Later, Oh Se-geun was active as a key member of the 2nd and 3rd Ginseng Shingi, so it couldn’t be the best last puzzle. As a result, KGC has established a super-luxurious lineup leading to Yang Hee-jong, Kim Tae-sul, who was recruited through trade, and Park Chan-hee, Lee Jung-hyun, and Oh Se-geun, who were nominated through the rookie draft. It was the beginning of the first ginseng new period.
In the 2011-2012 season, KGC, which became the main axis of the ginseng new season 1, cruised from the beginning. Kim Tae-sul led the team with stable game management, and newcomer Oh Se-geun did not lose out in match-ups with foreign players and quickly rose to the league’s best center. Yang Hee-jong showed his strength in defense and dirty work, while Park Chan-hee and Lee Jung-hyun helped from the outskirts. KGC recorded 2nd place in the regular league with 36 wins and 18 losses, and went directly to the playoffs for the quarterfinals.
Wonju Dongbu (now Wonju DB), who boasted the best defense with height, was the opponent of KGC’s championship match, which easily overpowered KT in the semifinal playoffs. Dongbu ranked first in the regular league with an overwhelming record of 44 wins and 10 losses that season. Prior to the start of the series, most pundits predicted the East’s dominance. KGC was in the position of challenger. Even in regular league matches, they were inferior with 1 win and 5 losses.
However, when I opened the lid, a completely different development unfolded than expected. KGC shook the East Coast by utilizing its vigorous activity and strong full-court press defense. Although they trailed with 1 win and 2 losses until the 3rd game, they took down the 4th, 5th and 6th games and won the first playoff championship with 4 wins and 2 losses. It was the result of the first season of Ginseng Shinki. Oh Se-geun, who averaged 17.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in six championship games, won the playoff MVP for the first time as a rookie.
‘Colossus’ KGC, Birth of Ginseng Shinki 2nd
Season KGC, which won the playoff championship in the 2011-2012 season, slowed down after Oh Se-geun’s injury, head coach Lee Sang-beom’s voluntary resignation, and Kim Tae-sul (KGC→KCC) and Park Chan-hee (KGC→Electronic Land)’s transfers. did. In the 2016-2017 season, Yang Hee-jong, Oh Se-geun, and Lee Jung-hyun of the 1st Ginseng Shingi were the main players and wrote a new history of the first integrated championship, but after the season ended, they went through another big change. Oh Se-geun and Lee Jung-hyun were qualified as free agents (FA) at the same time.
Considering the salary cap, it was realistically impossible to catch them all. In the end, KGC signed a contract with Oh Se-geun for 5 years and a total fee of 750 million won, but negotiations with Lee Jung-hyun broke down. Lee Jung-hyun landed a new nest at KCC in Jeonju, winning the jackpot of 920 million won in total remuneration with a contract period of 5 years.
When 3 out of 5 members of the 1st generation of Ginseng Shingi left, the method KGC chose was trade, as in the past. During the 2017-2018 season, Kim Ki-yoon and Kim Min-wook were sent to KT and Lee Jae-do and Kim Seung-won were traded 2-2. In the 2018 rookie draft, he had the good fortune to select Byun Jun-hyung, the largest fish in the second round of the first round.
He did not stop here and immediately made another trade with KT. This time, instead of giving Kim Yun-tae and Han Hee-won, he accepted Park Ji-hoon. At the time, KT had the right to nominate Park Joon-young, so in fact, Kim Yun-tae, Han Hee-won, and Park Joon-young obtained Park Ji-hoon and Byun Jun-hyung. This trade is called ‘Byun Geo-Park (Byun Jun-Hyung and Park Joon-Young) trade’ and is still talked about among fans.
He also did not neglect player development. Coach Kim Seung-gi trained Won-seok Jeon Seong-hyeon and Moon Seong-gon as the main pillars of the new team by rigorously guiding them. As a result, the 2nd Ginseng Shingi was born with new members Jeon Seong-hyeon, Moon Seong-gon, Lee Jae-do, and Byun Jun-hyeong added to the existing Yang Hee-jong and Oh Se-geun.
The 2020-2021 season was when the second season of Ginseng Shinki shined the most. Lee Jae-do and Byun Jun-hyung led the guard, and Jeon Seong-hyun grew into the best shooter in the league. Yang Hee-jong missed many games due to injury, but Moon Seong-gon perfectly filled the vacancy. The culmination of the show was Jared Sullinger. KGC, which suffered from the problem of foreign players throughout the season, recruited NBA player Sullinger at the end of the regular season. Sullinger earned the nickname “Professor Sermon” for his superior skills.
KGC, which finished in 3rd place (30-24) in the regular league, transformed into a completely different team in the playoffs. Salinger showed off his all-time impact and showed off his scoring ability in every game, and Oh Se-geun, who had been somewhat sluggish in the regular league, regained his skills. In addition, Lee Jae-do, Jeon Seong-hyun, Moon Seong-gon, and Yang Hee-jong all played their part and achieved a playoff victory. Neither KT in the semi-final playoffs, Ulsan Hyundai Mobis in the semi-finals playoffs, or KCC in the championship finals were all opponents of KGC. KGC is the first in KBL history to win all 10 matches, including the semifinals, semifinals, playoffs, and championships. KGC succeeded in adding another championship ring with the 2nd Ginseng Shingi.
The ‘last dance’ of the 3rd season of the new ginseng,
like the 1st season of the new ginseng, the 2nd season couldn’t be together forever. Lee Jae-do, who became a free agent after winning the playoffs in the 2020-2021 season, chose a new challenge at Changwon LG. After the end of the 2021-2022 season, coach Kim Seung-gi, Son Gyu-wan, and Son Chang-hwan, who led the golden age of KGC, left for Carrot, Goyang. Jeon Seong-hyun, who obtained FA qualification, also made a new nest in Carrot following coach Kim Seung-gi.
KGC has appointed Kim Sang-sik, former head coach of the Korean men’s basketball team, as the new head coach. Coaches Seung-tae Choi and Seong-min Cho were brought in as coaches to assist coach Sang-shik Kim. The two coaches were born in 1982 and 1983, respectively, so it was a somewhat unconventional choice because they were younger than the coaches of other teams. In addition, Bae Byeong-jun and Jeong Jun-won were recruited from the free agent market, and through the Asia Quarter, the Filipino promising lens Abando signed a contract to enrich the squad. Naturally, it was transformed into the 3rd Ginseng Shingi, in which Byun Jun-hyung, Moon Seong-gon, Bae Byung-jun, Oh Se-geun, and Yang Hee-jong became the main players, but they could not avoid weakening their power.
The 2022-2023 season was greeted with concerns, but KGC’s power was still strong. Coach Kim Sang-sik appropriately grafted his motion offense on the existing KGC color and brought the team together with soft charisma. Byun Jun-hyung, who showed growth every season, has established himself as one of the best guards in the league, and Moon Seong-gon held the center of the team in defense. Oh Se-geun and Yang Hee-jong are still showing off their competitiveness even though they are veterans.
Bae Byung-jun and Abando, who newly joined the team, filled the void left by Seong-hyun Jeon by bursting into a hole whenever the team needed it. Omari Spellman, who has the advantage of explosive scoring, and veteran Darryl Monroe’s performance could not be overlooked. Sixth men such as Park Ji-hoon, Jung Jun-won, and Han Seung-hee, who are coming off the bench, also added strength to the team with Altoran-like play. 먹튀검증
KGC, which showed stable power from the opening game, never came down from the top spot and won the regular league championship. It was the 3rd wire-to-wire championship in KBL history, following Dongbu in the 2011-2012 season (44-10) and Hyundai Mobis in the 2018-2019 season (43-11). It was all the more valuable because it was the first place in the regular league that broke everyone’s expectations.
Unfortunately, this season is also expected to be the last for the 3rd season of Ginseng Shingi. This is because Oh Se-geun, Moon Seong-gon, and Bae Byung-joon will be released as free agents at the same time after the season ends. It is virtually impossible to capture all three of these people, who are certain to increase the ransom. Here, Yang Hee-jong, a one-club man who played only in Anyang for 16 years, announced his retirement from active duty. Byun Jun-hyung plans to enlist in Sangmu to solve military problems.
However, the playoffs are still pending. The team also has a sense that it is the end to some extent, so the motivation for winning is certain. This is why the 3rd season of Ginseng Shingi is expected to be more exciting for their playoffs, whether they will be able to show off a splendid last dance by winning the combined championship.