“I will be the best” middle school student Se-geun’s promise is still being kept

“I gritted my teeth as much as I was undervalued.”

Professional basketball Anyang KGC Ginseng Corporation had many skeptical eyes ahead of the 2022-2023 season.메이저사이트 This is because coach Kim Seung-gi, who led the team for more than 7 years, and Jeon Seong-hyun, the best shooter in the league, have all left after he took a knee in the championship match against Seoul SK last season. Coach Kim Sang-sik, who has experience as a national team commander, took the new helm, but many expected that it would be difficult because it was Ginseng Corporation that underwent major changes along with power loss. The same was true of the ‘veteran’ Oh Se-geun. Born in 1987, at the age of 36, there was a perception that ‘the era of Oh Se-geun has passed’. But it was a year that defied all expectations. Ginseng Corporation and Oh Se-geun both had their best seasons. Ginseng Corporation achieved the feat of ‘Triple Crown’ by winning the ‘Wire-to-Wire’ league, which never comes down from first place, and winning the East Asia Super League (EASL) trophy and championship match. Oh Se-geun played a big role in the championship match against SK again this season and was selected as the MVP. Oh Se-geun led the championship with 19.1 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 assists, playing an average of 35 minutes and 56 seconds in seven championship games. In the end, the last main character was him. 

In an interview with the Segye Ilbo held at a cafe near the Anyang Gymnasium in Gyeonggi Province on the 15th, Oh Se-geun said, “No one even said that we were a strong team apart from the championship candidates. The evaluation of me was the same,” he said. “I gnashed my teeth and worked hard to become a champion. He showed it once again by winning. It was a year that proved that I was not dead yet,” he recalled. 

Oh Se-geun compared his career to a ‘roller coaster’. He took several peaks and crashed several times to the ground. Injuries, big and small, plagued him throughout his playing career. Each time, several evaluations came and went. But for him, this was also ‘nourishment’. Oh Se-geun said, “When he hit the bottom, he was very disappointed in himself. I always wanted to change the bad gaze from the outside,” he said. Because he was like this, the roar of the ‘Lion King’ that came out the moment he won the 7th round of the championship match was all the more intense. It was the joy and pride of being able to prove oneself again along with the desperate victory amidst negative evaluations. This is why it is considered one of the most meaningful victories for him, who has won four championships.

Oh Se-geun, who has been reigning at the top of the league for over 10 years. His ‘persistence’ for the best came from his ‘first mind’ when he first started playing basketball. 3rd year middle school, Oh Se-geun, who was 190 cm tall and boasted an overwhelming height compared to his peers, was playing basketball on a street in Incheon and was offered a ‘scout’ by the basketball team of Annam Middle School. When he was contemplating his career path, he promised his parents two things by declaring that he would play basketball. “I will never give up. And I will be the best.” Middle school student Oh Se-geun did not let go of the basketball, and he became the best. He still thinks of this promise whenever he is having a hard time. Oh Se-geun said, “There were times when I was so tired that I cried a lot alone because my skills didn’t improve much compared to what I tried in my first and second year of high school.” He recalled that he continued his dream by exercising until dawn with the senior he lived with.”

This championship match is evaluated as ‘the best ever’. Ginseng Corporation and SK met for two years in a row and built a ‘rival’, and accordingly, the match was decided only after the last 7th game was overtime. The 7th overtime game is the first since the launch of professional basketball. When Byun Jun-hyeong’s shot hit the rim 34 seconds before the end of overtime, when the team was leading by one point, Oh Se-geun led the foul after winning the rebound alone, and succeeded in both free throws, virtually putting a wedge in the game. Oh Se-geun said, “All around us were SK players, but I felt that the ball would hit the rim and come out, so I went in and got a rebound. I shook my body at the thought that I should not be taken away, but a foul was declared.” The second was thrown with confidence.” Game 7 of the championship match was a real crucible of enthusiasm. The players’ ears were deafened. “It was so hot that I wondered if I had ever felt this level of heat and shouts during my career as a player. I’m not normally a player who celebrates, but I got chicken skin that came out on its own. It was even better to win at home amidst the enthusiastic support.”

Who is his ‘role model’? For his playing style, he picked Dirk Nowitzki (45, Germany) of the NBA. Oh Se-geun’s shirt number is 41, following Nowitzki’s. Nowitzki is the best ‘legend’ who has been on the NBA stage for 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and retired after giving the team its first championship. He resembles Oh Se-geun in that he has a tall physical body and a sophisticated shooting sense. Domestic players include ‘Legend’ Kim Joo-seong, DB coach, and Yang Dong-geun, Ulsan Hyundai Mobis coach. Oh Se-geun said, “I learned a lot from watching Joo-seong, who is in the same position,” and “Dong-geun has a lot to learn not only about sports, but also about everyday life and human relationships.”

‘Captain’ Yang Hee-jong, who has shared the joys and sorrows of Ginseng Corporation for over 10 years, is now leaving the court. Yang Hee-jong, who joined in 2007 and was a ‘franchise star’ of Ginseng Corporation for 17 years, was also a mental support for Oh Se-geun. Oh Se-geun said of Yang Hee-jong, “I felt joy and sorrow while being together at Ginseng Corporation. He was sick and there was criticism and encouragement, but he overcame it and sincerely wanted to tell Heejong-hyung, who played for 17 years, that he had a really hard time.” Even when he stepped on the court for the last time in his career 3 seconds before the end of the 7th round of the championship due to an injury, Yang Hee-jong approached Se-geun Oh and said ‘thank you’, and Se-geun Oh replied ‘I worked hard’.

Oh Se-geun’s final goal is to win his 5th championship. Like his own uniform number, he hopes to keep his active life until the age of 41. It has not yet been decided where the team will pursue that goal in the future. Oh Se-geun became a free agent (FA) at the end of this season. He is also discussing renewing his contract with Ginseng Corporation, which he never left. Ginseng Corporation was divided into before and after Oh Se-geun’s joining, and he shared an era of glory. Oh Se-geun, who joined in 2011, won a total of four champion trophies with Ginseng Corporation, including his first championship when he was a rookie. He is one league MVP and three championship MVPs, and his individual awards are also shining. However, it is also true that he receives a lot of attention from other clubs. An ‘open mind’, he doesn’t know where his career will go next season, but his passion for basketball remains the same. 

“I devoted myself to Ginseng Corporation for 12 years and won four championships, and I am grateful for the much love from the fans. I just want to be treated appropriately within my competitive edge. I want to add championships so that I can wear all 5 championship rings on one hand.”

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