When you think of the recent Seoul SK Knights, who is the first player that comes to mind? Opinions will vary, but many will choose the MVP combination of regular season MVP Kim Seon-hyung (34‧187cm) and best foreign player Jamil Warney (29‧199cm) first. There is a big reason why he only played in SK based on his KBL career and proved both his skills and popularity.
In addition, there will be those who mention Choi Jun-yong (29‧200.2cm), who is now a player of another team, but showed the greatest impact at the time of the combined championship. It may be difficult for Kim Seon-hyeong, but depending on how the newly joined Oh Se-geun (36‧199.8cm) performs over the next few years, his name may also be engraved in SK history.
In the meantime, there is one person who should not be left out of the roster, and it is Ahn Yeong-jun (28‧194.1cm) of “Young-mi” who will return from military service next season. He’s not flashy, but he’s good at defense and hustle, and he’s the first-class housekeeper of the knights corps, who has done a good job supporting him in attack. Even if it is not an ace or stormtrooper type, it is recognized for its value as a piece of a strong team.
At first glance, it seems common, but there is a type of player that is subtly rare. All leaders and colleagues prefer the type that focuses on dirty work such as defense and allows support shooting based on movement without the ball during attack. However, there were not many players of that type with the ability to be a starting player in history. The playing style is similar, but most of them were bench members who were downgraded overall or specialized in either offense or defense.
In a way, it’s bound to be precious. This is because it is not easy for a player with that much talent and capacity to have the mentality to sacrifice for the team and not hesitate to play a supporting role himself. This is especially true in an era where pride is stronger than one’s capabilities and there are many players who want to be the main character. Yang Kyung-min, who was called the standard 3&D player in the heyday of DB, Chu Seung-gyun, a silently strong man who was capable of everything he could not do, such as defense, shooting, and passing, and Kang Byung-hyun, who was a blue worker but had a strong star character, are supporting actors who are talked about even today.
In an atmosphere where many outstanding forwards such as Song Kyo-chang, Choi Jun-yong, Yang Hong-seok, and Moon Seong-gon appear, Ahn Young-jun tends to be somewhat buried. While the players mentioned were active in the spotlight from early on as key players in the team, there is a big reason why Ahn Young-Jun received relatively less attention in SK, where there are many stars. It reminds me of Choo Seung-gyun in the days of ‘Lee Jo-chu’.
Ahn Young-jun is a player with a style that many coaches would like. He has a solid weight and a long wingspan of 202cm, and his physical condition is good compared to his position, and his athletic abilities such as speed and power are also compliant. In a situation where there are many offensive options in his team, his excellent interpersonal defense and high rebound participation are significant strengths. As was the case before, next season SK needs players like Ahn Young-jun to contribute in defense, hustle, rebound, and activity.
SK’s main offensive route this season was Kim Seon-hyung and Warney’s various breakthrough options. The two players, who are also famous as plotters, shake the opponent’s defense in all directions, and a second score is created as a derivative effect from there. A typical example is Choi Boo-kyung. Receiving criticism that he was outdated, he performed well as an auxiliary striker by searching for empty spaces and scoring goals.
In the next season, Kim Seon-hyung, Warni and Oh Se-geun will join. Furthermore, a player is needed to fill that role, and Ahn Young-jun, who is good at movement without the ball, is truly the best fit. While Choi Bu-kyung’s receiving options are limited to the area under the goal, Ahn Young-jun can play an active role in all weathers, going back and forth between the inside and outside. Utilizing his decent mobility, he plays the role of a finisher and trailer well during a fast break, and his outside shot, which receives and inserts a kickout pass, is also excellent.
He diligently moves to and from my outskirts and is the best partner who can relieve the ace’s offensive burden in various ways. However, Ahn Young-Jun is not a player who is limited to the play he receives. He tends to focus on concise play in accordance with team play, so he has a two-man game, staff back, pull-up jumper, and mid-range ability evenly.
He is basically a player with a thick distribution, so he actively steps forward and stands at the forefront of the attack when it is deemed necessary. He is flawless as the number 3, but there are also opinions that if he plays as the number 2, Choi Jun-yong’s void may be felt. This is because although he is a well-balanced player in offense and defense, there is no proven bar in auxiliary reading and passing. There is also a lack of experience in the game.
However, this year SK’s passing play worked well enough without Choi Jun-yong, and key players such as Kim Seon-hyung and Oh Se-geun are veterans with a lot of experience. Even if he does not participate in the assistant reading at position 2, the experienced Oh Se-geun and others can fill in the missing parts. The latest basketball trend is not a structure that takes responsibility from the front line like in the past. You can do it from the back line, or the former players can share a little bit.
Moreover, 안전놀이터 as Ahn Young-joon has been evaluated as having a good BQ since his rookie days, it seems possible to play the role of a good linker. In some ways, now that Choi Jun-yong has left, it could be an opportunity for Ahn Young-jun. Anyway, since there are more things to do, there are many opinions that it is necessary to take on more roles and be greedy for ‘growth as flounder, not just sea bream’. It is noteworthy whether Ahn Young-joon, a former housekeeper, will be able to return with a more seasoned appearance and become the main pillar of the SK Knights.