Ulsan Hyundai Mobis second-year guard Kim Tae-wan (22, 180 cm) has been getting noticed by head coach Cho Dong-hyun during the team’s training camp in Japan. He also has a strong college motivation by his side.
Kim Tae-wan is one of the few players in Hyundai Mobis’ training camp in Japan that coach Cho Dong-hyun praises. He’s quick to point out when he misses a pass, but he doesn’t nitpick. “Not only (Park) Mubin, but also (Kim) Tae-wan are still rookies. I want them to play diligently, and they’re doing a good job,” says Cho.
Kim also started in a scrimmage against the Ibaraki Robots on the 29th. He played 27:33 minutes, the second most of any Korean player behind Kim Ji-wan (29:44), and recorded four points, one rebound, and two assists. He didn’t have any standout performances, but he played a lot of minutes up front, playing a combination of pressure defense and cooperative defense.
Kim entered the draft as an early entry last year while still in his junior year at Korea University and was selected by Hyundai Mobis with the fifth overall pick. In the second through fourth rounds, he averaged less than six minutes per round, but in the fifth round, he played an average of 19 minutes and 19 seconds in nine games. Round 6 also played all nine games, averaging 12 minutes and 22 seconds.
This is the first time Kim Tae-wan has trained overseas after a rookie season that exceeded expectations. “Following the training camp in the Philippines, I’m trying to improve my game management and offense in Japan,” said a happy Kim. “Last season, my performance was around 40 points. The season started shortly after I joined, so it was difficult to learn the defense. I played with the determination to work as hard as I could, and I think the coach saw that part of my game.”
This season, he will be joined by fellow KU alumnus Park Moo-bin. According to Hyundai Mobis officials, Kim Tae-wan was the player who most wanted Park to join the team for the training camp in Japan. When asked about this, Kim Tae-wan said, “(Park) was a teammate who worked out and ate with me a lot in college. I was looking forward to joining the team as soon as possible because he is a player who has a lot to learn from me,” he laughed.
Park was selected by Hyundai Mobis with the second overall pick in the recent draft. Although Park is ranked higher, Kim Tae-wan is his senior in terms of professional experience. In fact, Park has been visiting Kim every chance he gets to ask him about team tactics, and Kim has been helping Park adjust to the team.
“We talk a lot about things like team culture and tactics,” says Kim, “but he asked me to tell him about defense first. I still don’t know a lot, but I’m trying to share what I’ve learned with him as much as possible.”
Signees Lee Woo-seok and Park Moo-bin have been called up to the national team. Hyundai Mobis now has a more competitive guard lineup. Kim Tae-wan still plays a big role. “Each of them has a different style, so we’ll be able to showcase different combinations,” said Cho Dong-hyun. It’s possible for Mubin to play with (Seo) Myung-jin or Tae-wan,” he said.
While Cho Dong-hyun’s expectations are high for his first overseas training camp, Kim Tae-wan’s goals are more modest. “I want to play more than 토토사이트 10 minutes on average and improve my personal records in terms of points, assists, and steals,” said Kim, who played an average of 11 minutes and 42 seconds in 33 games last season.
It may seem like a simple statement, but it was also a glimpse into Kim’s mindset as he wants to continue to be the energizer bunny he was last season. “I will try to show a little more improvement in my offense before the season starts,” he added.