Before departing for the United States, Yang Hee-jong left a final greeting for her juniors.
On the 21st, the official opening game of the 2023-2024 Jeonggwanjang Professional Basketball League between Anyang Jeonggwanjang and Seoul SK was held at Anyang Gymnasium.굿모닝토토 A familiar face was sitting in the stands watching the game. It was Yang Hee-jong, the franchise star of Anyang who announced his retirement from active play at the end of last season. Despite the distance, she cheered for her juniors from the bottom of her heart.
At halftime, Yang Hee-jong said, “I feel it again, but basketball is really fun to watch on the field. Seeing the players play after a long time, I feel like my latent passion is coming back to life. I’m having a lot of fun watching the game.”
Last season, Jung Kwan-jang won its second overall title in its history. Yang Hee-jong led the team with her leadership on and off the court. She was part of the championship ring presentation ceremony that began before the game, where she received her fourth championship ring. Yang Hee-jong was joined in the championship ring ceremony by Oh Se-geun, who moved to SK, and Byun Jun-hyung and Han Seung-hee, who are both serving in the military.
“I’m glad that (Byun) Jun-hyung and (Han) Seung-hee came out on vacation, and (Oh) Se-geun, who moved to SK, was able to join us. Being together brought back a lot of memories. It was a very nice picture. We can’t play together anymore, but it was a great time. Now I have to keep it in my memory, but it meant a lot to me.” Yang Hee-jong said.
Yang will receive coaching training at UT Arlington, an NCAA school in the U.S., with the help of Chung Kwan-jang. He will leave for the U.S. on May 22 and begin full-scale coaching classes.
“I’m half expecting, half excited. I’m also worried. I’m thinking, ‘Will I do well? I want to go out there and try to do everything I can. I’m grateful to the club for giving me this opportunity. I hope the juniors can see from me that if you dedicate yourself to the team for a long time, good things can happen.”
With so many changes to the roster, the team suffered its first loss of the season in a 74-89 defeat to SK. With a new team name and a fresh start, the team is expected to have its fair share of trials and errors.
“The juniors had a very busy offseason,” said Yang. This season, we also have to play the EASL (East Asian Super League) home and away. The most important thing is not to get injured. I hope we can rely on the manager and coaches as we prepared and rely on each other. I think we can overcome any hardships and adversity if we stick together as a team. And lastly, I hope you listen to (Daryl) Monroe,” he said, leaving the juniors with one last word of advice.