Kang Hyuk, the center of change at ‘Gasworks’

The Daegu Korea Gas Corporation Pegasus basketball team has announced big changes ahead of their third season in the league. Along with plans to improve both their roster and change the tone of the team, they’ve made the biggest move of all: they’ve hired Kang Hyuk as their second head coach after two years with the team in Daegu.

Kang Hyuk was a former franchise star for the Seoul Samsung, a successful guard who was more than just a top sixth man, and one of the best pick-and-roll players in Korean basketball (an offensive tactic in basketball that uses screens to switch opponents and create mismatches to score). His record of never missing the playoffs during his playing days with Samsung and E-Land is particularly noteworthy, and he is determined to spearhead changes to revive a team that has fallen to ninth place.스포츠토토

At the entrance of summer, GASCO began full-scale team training, and MBC Sports Plus met with Kang Hyuk at the GASCO training center in Daegu Gymnasium. Here’s what he had to say about the direction of GASCO’s basketball program this season.

Q. What are your expectations?
This year, I’m trying to motivate the players a lot so that they can have a chance for such things if they always make such efforts. I’m trying to motivate them so that not a single player will fall, and I’m trying to work as a team as a whole.

Q. What’s your training focus?
I think we have to do a lot of physical training because we have a thin roster, and we have to run one or two steps more than the opponent in that area, so we’re trying to give them a lot of things defensively, so we’re trying to make sure that the offensive players do what they promised, and we’re trying to do a lot of different things in the defensive tactics, so we’re trying to match that with the players right now.

Q. Foreign players, how?
I think we need some foreign players who can score a little bit, so that’s what we’re looking at, and we’re looking at a lot of footage to try to get a foreign player who can play defense and all that kind of stuff, so we’re watching a lot of footage with the coaches right now, so I think we’ll probably make a selection sooner or later.

Q. Why did you struggle last year?
Last year, the players worked hard in the off-season, and they worked hard in that part, but because we lost a little bit from the beginning, the atmosphere was a little bit down in that part, so this year, we are trying to focus a little bit more from the beginning so that the atmosphere does not fall, so we are trying to play a fun basketball that can play a lot of fast breaks while pressuring the opponent a little bit strongly from the beginning.

Q. Your basketball color
I want to play a basketball where the whole team is playing together, and I want to play a basketball that’s a little bit quicker in transition. I’ve gotten to the point where I think we need to have a fast break offense where we can go right back on the offense even if we let the opponent score, so I’m trying to build a team that has that kind of fast break offense.

Q. What about the lineup?
We didn’t have any reinforcements, but there are players who didn’t get a lot of playing time before, so this season, they have the idea that they can play again, so maybe there will be another new player, so based on those players, we have Lee Dae-heon now, and Kim Nak-hyun, who will be discharged from the army soon, so I’m trying to raise the rest of the players a little bit.

Q. The team’s weakness, rebounding?
We’re not that tall this year, so we try to emphasize that a lot in practice, and we’ve just started now, so we’re still working on our defensive tactics, but in terms of continuous rebounding and fast breaks, we probably point that out every time in practice, and for those rebounds, honestly, just because you’re tall doesn’t mean you’re going to get all the rebounds. So it’s important to get rebounds by not letting them get into their own matchup as promised, so I’m going to try to give them some instructions on the basics, so we’re going to try to give up fewer turnovers than we did last year and get more offensive rebounds, so they’re going to try to do that more.

Q. How do you feel about the season?
I think right now we have a little bit of a gap between us and the other teams, realistically, but we’re going to try to take it one step at a time and narrow it down a little bit so that we can get to the other side. The first thing is we’re going to try to get to the quarterfinals of the playoffs, and I think that’s something that the players have as well, and I really want to make sure that we work well as a team and get to the quarterfinals and see how far we can go from there.

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