Jeon Jung-gyu Myungjijung coach, “I was a lucky player”

This article was published in the March 2023 issue of Basket Korea webzine. The interview was held on the afternoon of February 13th. ( Link to purchase Basket Korea webzine )

From entering a prestigious basketball university to being nominated in the first place in the rookie draft and winning the professional stage. There was a basketball player who walked on Tantan-daero. However, it is not a solid road obtained for free. In order to solidify my basketball life, I made efforts both in visible and invisible places.
All of the above is the story of Jeon Jung-gyu (coach Myung Ji-jung). After his hard work, Jeon Jeong-gyu became a shooter recognized by the pros as well. He is now passing on the know-how he gained from his professional career to student players. However, Jeon Jeong-gyu looked back on his basketball life, saying, “I was a lucky player.”

No. 1 shooter
Jeon Jung-gyu, who graduated from Gwangju High School and Yonsei University, was a shooter with a stable lower body balance and sophisticated fingertips. In particular, during his Yonsei University days, he showed his strengths even among his juniors and seniors.먹튀검증
Jeon Jeong-gyu, who built the golden age of Yonsei University, entered the 2006 KBL domestic rookie draft. He entered the pro with the number 1 overall out of numerous contenders. Jeon Jeong-gyu’s destination was Incheon Electronic Land (now Daegu Korea Gas Corporation).

In the 2006 KBL Domestic Rookie Draft, he entered the pro with the first overall pick.
Hmm… I think I was very confused. (Laughs) I think I was so confused that I can only think of that word.
What did rank 1 mean?
All players aim to be professional. I think going pro is a bigger goal. That’s why I think the meaning of ‘No. 1’ was different.
There must be a story behind it too.
I worked hard during the tryout. However, I was very nervous because I was showing my skills in front of professional team coaches. I couldn’t show my skills.
What was your first impression of the E-Land basketball team?
At that time, Choi Myung-do (former Ulsan Hyundai Mobis coach) and Pyo Pil-sang were the seniors. To call him hyung, there was a big age difference. They felt more like uncles than brothers.
But the hyungs treated me comfortably. The accommodation was also really good. The sleeping place, dining room, and treatment room were all like that. It was recently built, and it was a two-person room. Thanks to good seniors and good conditions, I think I was more comfortable.

Over 40% 3-point shooting, nonetheless…
Jeon Jeong-gyu was also the shooter at E-Land. His playing time was not long, but he showed off his shooting sense as much as his playing time. After Cho Woo-hyun (2.2 per game) and Kim Seong-cheol (1.7 per game), he made the most 3-pointers on the team.
He also had a pretty high success rate. 40.3%, 5th among players who attempted 4 or more 3-pointers per game. (1st place: Shin Ki-seong – 49.5%, 2nd place: Cho Sang-hyun – 43.6%, 3rd place: Kim Seong-cheol – 41.3%, 4th place: Kang Dae-hyeop – 40.6%) He left an impact as a shooter. However, there was a regret. It is because he gave away the rookie of the year only once in his life to Lee Hyun-min (former Ulsan Hyundai Mobis).

E-Land was famous for its team with a lot of training.
Right after the draft, coach Choi Hee-am took over. He took care of each one, including defensive stances and offensive movements. It is more memorable that he learned those detailed elements.
Since his debut season, he has played all regular league games.
(Jeon Jeong-gyu played in 54 games in the 2006-2007 season. In 22 minutes and 52 seconds per game, he scored 8.9 points and made 1.6 3-point shots per game. The 3-point shot success rate was 40.3%) Coach Kim Seong-cheol (former Wonju DB coach) and Jo Woo-

hyun My brother was in the 2nd or 3rd seat. There was no place for me to fit in. But as my brothers went to the Asian Games, I took the opportunity to participate. But I didn’t do very well. ‘If I had done better, I would have had more results…’.
However, the Rookie of the Year went back to Lee Hyun-min. Aren’t you sorry?
It’s a lie if you say you’re not sorry. Rookie of the Year is an award that can only be received once in a pro. But I think I missed that opportunity because I couldn’t help the team’s performance.

Trade and
Jeong-gyu Jeon moved during the 2007-2008 season.
Thisis because when E-Land and Orions carried out a 3-to-3 trade, Jeon Jeong-gyu was included in the trade list. (E-Land sent Jeon Jeong-gyu, Baek Ju-ik, and Carmelo Lee to Orions, and Orions sent Joo Tae-soo, Jeong Jae-ho, and Leon Trimmingham to E-Land).Jeon Jeong-gyu had a lot of experience with the Orions. In particular, in the 2015-2016 season, he played in the championship match for the first time after his professional debut. He also experienced his first pro win. And he retired after the 2017-2018 season.

During the 2007-2008 season, he was traded to Daegu Orions (now Goyang Carrot).
He left for Changwon to play the last game of round 4. (The day the match was held was the trade deadline for the 2007-2008 season) I was having lunch, but the coach called me. And he told me, “I was traded to the Orions.”
I couldn’t play the game in Changwon, so I went straight to Daegu. We waited until the game in Daegu was over, and then we moved to the lodging together. I immediately digested the schedule at Orions. Looking back, the trade and the move that followed was so hasty. I think that’s why I was more perplexed.
He won his first championship in the 2015-2016 season.
Even though I didn’t play many games, I tried to help the team. All the players, including me, worked hard. The director and coaches also worked hard.
There are many players who retire without winning a championship, but I enjoyed the joy of winning. So it felt good. I experienced emotions that only a winner can feel.
However, he retired after the 2017-2018 season.
I also had a desire to become a player. But I’m retired. So it was even more regrettable.

After retirement,
every professional sports player faces a new life. Because players can’t do it for the rest of their lives.
Jeon Jeong-gyu was the same. After retirement, I had many experiences. And in March 2022, he took over as coach at Myongji Middle School.
When he was a player, all he had to do was focus on taking care of his body and his performance. But coaches are different. Especially youth coaches. Since he is a youth player who needs to lay down the basics and build character, the responsibility and role are great. ‘Coach Jeon Jeong-gyu’ thought was no different.

How have you been after retirement?
I went on a trip with my parents and tried to do things I couldn’t do with my family. I focused on resting. That being said, I didn’t think it was too long to rest. To learn youth basketball, I taught the kids in the club. Also, the club I teach has a 3×3 team, so I also experienced 3×3 basketball.

Then I thought about what I could do better. After thinking about it, I decided to teach elite basketball students. I asked for advice from many seniors and was appointed as an assistant coach at Naksaeng High School.
You coached the first student athletes. How did you feel?
I felt that there was a big time difference between when I was exercising and when the student athletes were exercising. Focusing on that, I coached student athletes. However, I don’t think the Naksaenggo players were desperate at the time. So I thought about how to instill a sense of desperation.
Then, he was hired as a coach at Myongji Middle School.
While I was working as an assistant coach at Naksaeng High School, I saw an announcement for coaching Myeongjijung. He thought that if he became the main coach, he would be able to get closer to the student-athletes, and discussed it with Naksaenggo teachers and coaches. At the end of the consultation, I applied.
What did you emphasize on Myongji Middle School student athletes?
During the interview, the principal and the head of the basketball team asked, “How will you teach the children?” I replied, “I will create an atmosphere where student athletes can exercise on their own.” Even to the student players now, “There is no one who can replace your basketball. So, let’s exercise in a good mood. Also, there is nothing to run while watching the teacher. Whether you lose or win, you guys have to be excited and run the court.”
What is the difference between a leader and a player?
I could see the lies and bad actions I had as a player. (Laughs) I also thought, ‘What I did, the kids are doing it too’. Also, when I was a player, I only watched basketball games, but after becoming a leader, I looked at things that could be helpful to student players. If you can give a good influence to student players, you have shared various contents, whether it is a basketball video or a documentary video.

“I was lucky.”
The last theme of ‘What are you doing?’ is to look back on your basketball life. I asked the same question to Jeon Jung-gyu. “How was your basketball life?” he said.
Jeon Jeong-gyu gave an unexpected answer. “I was lucky. It was like a lottery.” It was because a player who had not been noticed even in the first year of high school took an elite course after entering university. That’s why he cherished it now that he is coaching Myeongjijung.

What does ‘basketball’ mean?
I think it is the beginning and end of life. (Laughs) I started playing basketball in elementary school, and I am still teaching basketball to student players.
Please look back on ‘Jeon Jeong-gyu’s basketball life’.
I started playing basketball in Osan, Gyeonggi-do. But the middle school I was in didn’t even win a championship in the national championships. We lost by 3 to 50 points in every game.
I was also only 183 cm in my 3rd year of middle school. Despite that, he was the biggest on the team. For that reason, I saw the center. That said, it wasn’t even that good. He was a player who could only score 2 points in every game.
And I went to Gwangju High School to study. (Laughs) Somehow, I turned into a shooter, and I entered Yonsei University, which others dream of. Also, even though there were many outstanding seniors, I started playing from the first grade. I was picked first in the rookie draft as well. (Laughs) I thought I was lucky because an amateur player who hadn’t been noticed had even won the pro championship. It was as lucky as the lottery.
Will you still play basketball when you are born again?
Um… I think I need to think again at that time. (Laughs) Since I worked out so hard, I think maybe I should try something else. (Laughs)

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