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The Athletes Mindset is Important and Internal Competition is Needed

“The mindset of the players is important. No one should be a member of the national team. I think we need to compete more fiercely and recognize that it is a place that no one can enter.”

Park Ji-soo Cheongju KB Stars criticized for the development of the Korean women’s basketball national team.

Park Ji-soo, who was called by KB Stars as the No. 1 player in the first round of the 2016-2017 season draft, is like a bridgehead in Korean women’s basketball. With his superior height of 196 centimeters and efforts to cut his own blood, he has grown rapidly into a “national treasure center.”

Park Ji-soo was also raging this season. He played in only nine games due to panic disorder and ligament damage in his left middle finger in the 2022-2023 season, but he has appeared in all 26 games played by KB Stars so far due to desperate efforts. The performance was also overwhelming with 20.9 points 1st and 15.7 rebounds 1st during an average of 30 minutes and 44 seconds of playing time. KB Stars, with Park Ji-soo at the forefront, won 68-60 at the home Busan BNK thumb match on the 14th, recording 24 wins and 2 losses, confirming their regular league victory early.

Park continued her stellar performance in the national team as well. She served in all different age groups, and after being selected as the first adult representative when she was a freshman at Bundang Management High School, she participated in almost every competition to lead Korea’s offense.

However, Korean women’s basketball has not shown any significant performance on the international stage recently. In the last 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they showed off their competitiveness by fighting equally against powerhouses such as Spain 69-73 losses, Canada 53-74 losses, and Serbia 61-65 losses, but since then, they have struggled in both the 2022 FIBA Basketball World Cup 10th and the 2023 FIBA Asia Cup 5th. In particular, they failed to qualify for the final qualifying round for the 2024 Paris Olympics due to the sluggish Asian Cup and won the bronze medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, but they failed to advance to the finals for the first time in 17 years after the Doha Games, forcing them to swallow their regret.

Korea’s sluggishness was especially pronounced as neighboring Japan was on the rise. Japan, which won silver medals at both the Tokyo Olympics and the Hangzhou Asian Games, easily passed the final qualifying round for the Paris Olympics after ranking second at the Asian Cup.

What did Park think of this phenomenon? “Basketball is a sport that is heavily influenced by physical conditions. Japan also has low average height. Nevertheless, it is surprising that Korean players with great physique can do so well,” he said. “I remember when I was young that Korea played basketball like Japan, but it’s a pity that it doesn’t seem like the current situation.”

Park Ji-soo added, “In order for our country to develop further, we need to provide a lot of support like Japan. I know that Japan supports not only basketball but also sports as a whole. I think it would be nice for Korea to have that part.”

Of course, he did not just want support. He also stressed the mindset of the players. “First of all, the mindset of the players is the most important. After all, it’s all an excuse. All the players have to do is do well on their own,” Park said. “We should not settle down in our current position, but set a goal for a bigger stage and challenge ourselves.”

At the same time, he wanted the players to feel proud of the national flag. And he predicted that internal competition is necessary for this.

“The national team should be a place where players can feel proud. I think Korean players should compete more fiercely and there should be a recognition that no one can enter the national team. It is regrettable that the national team’s pride seems to be declining. Rather than immediately selecting the 12 finalists before participating in a competition, I hope that the team will form 18 to 20 preliminary contestants like Japan and China. Then I will feel proud. I hope the Korea Basketball Association will consider a system that allows players to be selected in a cool-headed manner while competing with the preliminary roster.” It was Park Ji-soo’s suggestion, who is more sincere about Taegeuk mark than anyone else. 슬롯머신


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