South Korea Rumors
With the 13th pick, the LG Sakers, fresh off their failed experiment with Davon Jefferson, drafted Bouldin. As he was making his way to sign his contract, the Goyang Orions selected Jackson at No. 14. Jackson, who grew up in a tough part of Memphis, said it was a life-changing moment. He suddenly had a six-figure deal. “I don’t know if you can understand where I came from,” he said. “I’m just thankful right now.” As the proceedings came to a close, most of the players, including McCants and Parker, had gone undrafted. Parker remained seated for several minutes before he retrieved his maroon suitcase at the back of the room. He was headed home to Brooklyn.
The Korean Basketball League, or K.B.L., essentially relocates to Las Vegas every July when dozens of officials — executives, coaches and scouts from each of the league’s 10 teams — descend en masse for an invitation-only tryout, held this year at the high school, followed by an import draft, which this year was held Tuesday in a grand ballroom at the Palms Casino Resort. “The American players are a lot different from the Korean players,” said S. J. Kimm, the chief operating officer for the Seoul Samsung Thunders. “Their whole style of play is different. We’re trying to supplement what we don’t have.”
Not so long ago, the tryout was the sole province of big men. Because South Korea already had its share of guards, the league typically turned to the United States for post players. But some officials said they thought the game was losing its speed and finesse, so a new rule was introduced this year: Each team could draft only one player taller than 6-4. “We want the games to be exciting and fun for Korean fans,” said Jaemin Lee, the league’s executive director for basketball operations.
They will do this because the 20 jobs that will be filled in the two-round draft are as good as any in international basketball, with $20,000 to $30,000 a month salaries paid regularly in American dollars, tax free. And that is worth watching a wooden box shaped like an octagon spin on a Rolodex stand. The box stopped spinning. A marble dropped out. One of the sober men in the sober suits picked it up and pinched it between his thumb and forefinger. “Blue,” he said. The Seoul Samsung Thunders had won the first pick. “It’s a ridiculous process but this is what they do,” said Rod Benson a 30-year-old forward who played in college at the University of California said as he stood in lobby outside the grand ballroom.
Jorge Sierra: South Korean big man Lee Jonghyun is staying in the draft, agent Mike Naiditch tells HoopsHype. Lee is completing South Korean military duty and will be available for pre-draft workouts after June 13, Naiditch says.