Rookie Byun Ha-jung performed a surprising performance and received praise from coach Woo Sang-woo.
Woori Bank won the fifth round match between Asan Woori Bank and Yongin Samsung Life Insurance at Asan Yi Sun-shin Gymnasium on the 5th. There were some notable names in Woori’s starting lineup, with Park Ji-hyun and Choi Yi-sam leaving due to ankle injuries. It’s rookie Byun Ha-jeong.
A graduate of Bundang Management High School, Byun Ha-jeong wore the Woori Bank uniform as the sixth pick in the first round at last year’s WKBL Rookie of the Year competition. She played for Busan KTF (now Suwon KT), Wonju Dongbu (now Wonju DB), and Jeonju KCC (now Wonju KCC). She is the daughter of Seongnam Elementary School coach Byun Chung-woon and the younger sister of Incheon Shinhan Bank Byun So-jeong.
Before the match, Woori Bank coach Woo Sang-woo said about Byun, “I have weak shooting ability outside, but I will get better with time. I am as good as my sisters in defense, combat ability, and rebound. Maybe because I was nervous, I felt my body strong when I went on the court. I think I will get better as I gain more experience.”
He said, “We don’t have players in our team right now. You have to endure it early. The purpose is also to help you gain experience. Running garbage hours doesn’t help much. He added, “He is a player who needs to develop from the perspective of our team.”
Byun Ha-jeong, who started the game, showed off her active play from the beginning. After catching four rebounds in the first quarter alone, she boldly threw herself into a loose ball situation. With her confident shooting attempt, she made an outer shot. Byun, who hit another three-point shot in the second quarter, gave the team a boost with determination.
Byun Ha-jeong especially stood out in the extra time, which was the match. He made two stolen bases with his witty handling and brought his attack power to Woori Bank. He scored a goal leisurely under the basket. It was an amazing play for a rookie who just debuted.
Byun played 42 minutes and 35 seconds, showing off his presence in many ways with eight points, nine rebounds, two steals, and one block shot. Three of the nine rebounds were valuable offensive rebounds. Although Woori Bank lost 61 to 70 in overtime, Byun’s play stood out by far.
“We played 120 percent well. We still lack a lot, but it was okay. I didn’t expect to play this game today (May 5) but I think we made the most of it. It is not easy for a rookie to play defense and rebound. Without (Byeon) Ha-jeong, it would not have been easy to defend. I think it is a huge income,” he expressed satisfaction.
Woori Bank’s rookie Byun Ha-jeong shone even in the defeat. Obviously, as he received the attention of coach Woo Sang-woo, he will be given constant playing time in the rest of the season. I’m even more curious about his performance and whether he will be able to take the main position at Woori Bank in the future.