Jeong Hui-ryang (38, 198 cm) was a player with a high fever for learning. He saw every game, every season, even if he only played a few minutes, as an opportunity to grow. Even after his retirement. He moved to Vietnam and is making his second life even better. Even if he is far away, Jeong Hui-ryang’s sincerity was the development of Korean basketball.
He started playing basketball at a relatively young age.
Since he was in middle school, he wanted to play basketball, but his parents strongly opposed it. He was 193 cm in his freshman year of high school. He had never been offered a basketball team. Before entering his second year, his mother took him to Jeonju. He was against it when he was younger, but he seems to have changed his mind after watching him go to basketball after eating. On the spot, he took the basketball team test. As soon as it was over, coach Kim Man-jin told me to buy basketball shoes quickly.
He became an elite player belatedly, but his growth was rapid. He went on to Dankook University and was selected for the 2007 Universiade team.
I am still grateful to director Kim Man-jin. He would have become a mediocre player if he had ordered everything, but he made me practice shooting a lot. He corrected his posture for several hours a day. He wasn’t even a good shooter in the first place. In tests, he couldn’t even send the ball straight enough to make his brothers laugh. His running posture was also strange, and his basic skills were obviously lacking. Even after going pro, his basic skills were weak enough to show through, but his shooting could be an advantage because he trained a lot from a young age. He was lucky too. He was with the best members of Jeonju. At that time, Jeonju High School had (Kim) Hak-seop hyung and other good hyungs. Hak-seob and his brother also told me a lot of details, but he didn’t understand at the time. Even though I just played back and forth basketball, the seniors were so good that I scored 10 points at a time.
In the 2008 rookie draft, he was selected as the 7th pick in the first round by KT&G (now KGC). He was the first rounder produced by Dankook University?
he didn’t enjoy it (Kim) Tae-hwan came to the pro together, but another colleague was not nominated. They were all colleagues who worked hard. After the draft was over, I looked for him to say hello, but he had already gone. I wanted to say that I had a hard time… . Personally, being nominated in the first round was something I was thankful for and undeserved of. I didn’t go pro because I was good at it. It was thanks to the help of many people through high school and college. Among my classmates, I was the only one selected in the first round, so I had many emotions.
He didn’t play many games in his debut season. Didn’t you feel the professional wall?
Rather than a wall, I was angry. I met good colleagues through the elite system and came this far, but when I came here, learning from the pros was on a different level. I thought, ‘Why didn’t I learn this when I was in school?’ Pattern training was similar, but power analysis was different. If Ama saw only scoring and rebounding on the record sheet, Pro analyzed the video to find out which attack had the highest probability and why the field goal rate fell. Until the second year, I exercised with the feeling of being stabbed in the back. As a result, I was able to learn about basketball from a different perspective.
The year 2010, when Ham Ji-hoon, Kim Young-hwan, Lee Kwang-jae, and Lee Hyun-min enlisted together, is considered one of the best military numbers of all time.
My business days were so much fun. The attitude towards the game was different. If you had to do training and games in college or pro, Sangmu wanted to know why you had to do it. I learned a lot. I was also shocked by my classmates. 토토 I don’t remember exactly what kind of game it was, but the operation time came out with a 1-point difference 0.7 seconds ago. I said, ‘Should I put in a shot and win? Will I lose?’ While I was thinking about it, (Lee) Hyun-min hyung and (Kim) Yeong-hwan had a discussion. When I heard someone say, “If I were the manager, I would use this screen to create a chance,” I thought, “I must have misunderstood.” That was the turning point in my basketball life. After that, I began to look at the movements of the guards more, and when interesting games came up, I thought, ‘Why did the coach use this tactic?’ During my first and second years, I realized what the director had ordered from the management. Afterwards, through training, I refined that part and gained confidence. I was able to accurately understand and prepare for my role in business management.
After being discharged from the military, the 2012-2013 season was a career high season. Although Oh Se-geun had a season out, he showed growth in his role.
At the time, Samsung coach Eun Hee-seok and DB coach Kim Seong-cheol, who were my colleagues at the time, told me a lot about my shortcomings. At the same time, it instilled confidence. The power was good, so I didn’t do anything special. All I had to do was make the ball spin smoothly, throw at chances, and participate in rebounding and defense. The two of them were like coaches at the time. These are the seniors who took good care of the players.
Eun Hee-seok, who was a senior at the time, is now in charge of the Samsung coach and is leading the improvement of his constitution.
Looking at the head coach appointment article, I thought, ‘I’ll just go to the 6th round’. It was because he was well aware of the director’s personality and style. I thought it wouldn’t take long to unite the team. Now is the stage to refine the team. It looks like Samsung will be a scary team soon.
The pro-ama best match held during the 2012-2013 season is also indispensable. KGC became the first team to lose to a college team in the Pro-Ama finals. Jeon Seong-hyeon (33 points, 4 3-point shots, 5 rebounds), who was attending Chung-Ang University, stood out.
Even then, the shot release was really fast. He was an excellent shooter, so he couldn’t block it. When he joined KGC, he said, “We raised you” (laughs).
Until the 2013-2014 season, it was highly utilized as a sixth man, but there were few opportunities to participate in the following two seasons. He must have been under a lot of stress.
It would be a lie if I said I didn’t, but I tried to focus on my role. It was a time when I accepted that there was something the team wanted from me outside of the court, and if I couldn’t do that role, it was meaningless to be a player. Personally, I put meaning in the fact that I am developing and learning every season regardless of my skills.
He didn’t have much time to play, but he was a player trusted by KGC to the extent that he continued to serve as vice-captain to help captain Yang Hee-jong. What memories do you have of your 6 seasons at KGC?
Thank you for giving me a heavy duty. Anyang was like home. Even if I go out to play now, it will feel like home. It is a very comfortable place. We had a meal together after receiving a recent call from KT&G chief Kim Ho-gyeom, who was the secretary general. I’m sorry I couldn’t contact you first, but he gave me a lot of advice just like when I was a player. I felt that my efforts were not in vain.
In 2016, it was traded to KCC for free. It is memorable that he said in an interview at the time that he was sorry for KGC, not that he was moving because he was good at it.
I worked hard in my own way, but I couldn’t say with confidence that I performed my role perfectly. If it had been perfect, I would have been able to leave with a smile, but that wasn’t the case, so I felt very sorry.
He retired after playing only one season after moving to KCC. What was the reason behind his decision to retire with one year left until his contract expired?
I’ve been trying to learn something every season, and I’ve always thought that there should be momentum. I didn’t feel that way in my last season at KCC. He thought he was stagnant, but in fact, he had a stronger desire to fill his contract period. On the other hand, her wife said to prepare another life quickly. Of course, I expected that the annual salary would be cut, but if the proposal was lower than expected, I agreed to retire without any regrets. But he took good care of me at KCC. I went to negotiate my salary, but the cut was smaller than I thought. So I was thinking of playing one more season. There were no regrets left, and there were no particularly painful areas. Even so, her wife was strong in her will. On the first day of salary negotiations, she talked all night about her whereabouts, and she decided to prepare for her next life a year early. She announced her intention to retire so the next day she wore a suit to work. The secretary-general was puzzled, but said it wasn’t because he didn’t like the conditions. I left the gym with a smile. (There was also a rumor that KCC, which recruited Lee Jung-hyun, did not sign the contract due to salary cap pressure?) That’s right. There was a rumor that ‘Jeong Hui-ryang was cut because of the salary cap’, but it was purely my plan to retire. I felt sorry for (Lee) Junghyun.
Coincidentally, I couldn’t win the championship every single time by a margin of one point. In the 2011-2012 season, when KGC won for the first time, he was discharged from the business, but was not registered as a player, and after being traded, KGC won the combined championship in the 2016-2017 season. KCC won the regular league championship in the 2015-2016 season before the trade.
His wife defined it as “a national rule for Jeong Hui-ryang to avoid winning” (laughs). KGC’s first win was stimulated by watching from behind the bench. When I went to KCC, I told (Oh) Se-geun, “I’m leaving, so I’m going to win”, but he really did. (Winning) doesn’t seem to be mine.
I am curious about the process of moving to Vietnam after his retirement.
He wanted to do business, but there was no suitable item. Market research was necessary, but the original plan was the United States. My parents opposed it because it was too far away, but Vietnam was in the limelight as a ‘post-China’. As soon as he retired, he planned for three months and decided to move in less than a month. I thought basketball was an unpopular sport in Vietnam, but basketball was very popular. Kids were running around with basketballs. I think I did well to come to Vietnam.
How well can you speak Vietnamese?
In the family, only the wife and children can do it. I was the only one bullied at home (laughs). I studied for about 3 months, but I didn’t improve. However, Vietnam has a large population that speaks English. Even elementary school students communicate in English.
What was your favorite part that made you decide to move?
In terms of life, there were many things that matched. It was not hotter than I thought, and there were people of many nationalities such as the United States, China, Taiwan, and Japan. I returned to Korea in October 2017 and moved around early December. I started a basketball class saying ‘I learned to steal’, and 60 people applied. It was a scale that I couldn’t handle alone, so I thought I should set up a company and do it properly. I could have operated it covertly, but I wanted to legally set up a company and operate it systematically. The company name was conceived from Wannabe and was named ‘BGROW’.
Did the company thrive?
Corona 19 broke out at the moment when the number of students increased to 160 and I thought, ‘I’m going to do it now’. In Vietnam, after the spread of Corona 19, the quarantine law was locked down, literally prohibiting going out. Our academy was also subject to business suspension, so it was a mess for a while. Even under lockdown, rent, rent, and employee salaries continued to go out. My mentality also went out (laughs). I returned to Korea during the lockdown period, but I felt impatient. I was thinking of doing a part-time job, but his wife stopped me. I was told to take it as a period of preparation step by step. As a result, looking back, it was a good time. I was able to rethink what I wanted to do. It was difficult financially, but if it wasn’t for that period, I think I would have been clinging to basketball classes even now. The basketball classroom is slowly recovering.
I know that there are many players who go to Vietnam to play.
I keep calling to come. This year, (Kang) Byeong-hyeon and Se-geun came with their families. It’s comfortable because the kids are the same age. My wife and I don’t have many people in Vietnam to build friendships with or confide in, so we’re very grateful if you come all the way to Vietnam. Stress is also relieved.
Do you have any desire to come back to Korea and do something related to basketball?
Of course there is. Recently, YouTube has become active, and many seniors and juniors, such as coach Heo Jae, coach Chu Seung-gyun, and (Ha) Seung-jin, can be seen trying to make basketball a hit. I do everything for basketball, and I have my own role. Currently, I am doing business in Vietnam, but I will definitely have a link with Korea later. I also think that I can exert a good influence through basketball.
What are your future plans?
In our basketball class, he says, “I am the biggest beneficiary and victim of the Korean elite system.” If it wasn’t for the elite system, I wouldn’t have gone pro, but I think I lost my creativity because of it. I realized that I had to be creative in the pro. I wonder if the player Jeong Hui-ryang would have shown a little better if the time had been advanced even a little. Of course, I still have a good system, but I don’t want my juniors to think like that. So are other countries. Talking to coaches from Vietnam and the Philippines, they have the same concerns. I’m trying to get to the root. I have a strong desire to change things instead of just complaining, saying “No”. Koreans account for 60% of our basketball class students, but there are also Taiwanese, Japanese, American, Japanese and Filipino students. Even if my strength is insignificant, I am sure that if the meaning is conveyed to a few people, basketball will be more successful. In addition to basketball classes, there are other projects in progress. I had a goal for the IT field, so I went to private academies after retirement. You are building an application. It hasn’t been released yet, but it’s in the final stages. Ultimately, I want to finish by learning even if I live for a day. I live by whipping myself.