‘Gentleman on the court’ Chu Il-seung mourns the retirement of his protégé, who shared his first title, like it was his job

“He should have played for five more years…. It’s a shame.”

On the 24th of this month, Kim Dong-wook, a ‘white knight’ who played for 19 years in the KBL, announced his retirement.

Kim Dong-wook was drafted by Samsung with the 7th pick in the second round of the 2005 KBL Rookie Draft, and has since played for three teams, starting with Samsung, then Orion, Samsung, and KT.

Born in 1981, he could have retired a long time ago. He’s even older than LeBron James, who has been at the centre of recent retirement speculation. But it’s a shame to see him go, as he’s still one of the most intelligent players on the court.

Kim’s retirement saddened many people, including national team coach Chu Il-seung, who even asked himself, “Where is (Kim) going?” when he wasn’t sure where Kim would go. He was also the most disappointed when Kim announced his retirement.스포츠토토

“He should have played for five more years…. It’s a shame because he’s still good.”

No one knows Kim Dong-wook’s value more than Chu. He recognised his skills and senses enough to trade Kim Dong-wook to Samsung for Kim Seung-hyun. Of course, at the time, Kim was not in his prime and injuries were frequent, although he still had his passing touch, but he was still Kim, and in that sense, the trade was quite remarkable.

“Samsung didn’t want to give us Dong-wook. Dong-wook was the best card they could get in exchange for Kim Seung-hyun. At the end, Samsung made a concession and we were able to get him.” “Actually, the rumours about Dong-wook were not good. There was an evaluation that he was lazy, but when I spent time with him, it wasn’t like that.”

He continued, “He did a good job. He was very family-orientated and had good basketball sense. I even asked him to play guard in our team, which had few guards, and he organised it well. I think he was at the peak of his game when he was with me.”

Indeed, Choo and Dong-wook led the Orions to the title in 2015-16, beating the late Andre Emmett and Ha Seung-jin’s KCC in Jeonju. It was a triumphant return to the top for a club that had been on a downward spiral since its heyday in the early 2000s.

Lee Seung-hyun was the MVP of the final, but Kim Dong-wook was also considered the MVP. “Dong-wook played a huge role in our victory,” said Chu. You might think he’s just an offensive player, but he also defended Emmett and Ha Seung-jin well,” Chu recalled.

Dong-wook also looks back on his time with the Orions under Choo as one of his shining moments. “Playing with (Chris) Williams, if I was playing 70 basketball, I could play 100 basketball. I was a starter for about three or four years and we won a championship, so I was happy that my basketball was working out like that,” he said, adding, “I was able to fit in and play the kind of forward game that coach (Chu Il-seung) likes. It was the first championship for the coach and the first championship for me as a main player, so I think the coach is watching me affectionately,” he laughed.

In his long coaching career, Chu counts Kim Dong-wook among his top five pupils. “He was a very mature kid,” he says. He was very good at giving advice to his juniors, especially as a locker room leader. There were rumours and misunderstandings in the past that even I looked at with tinted glasses. But when I lived with him, I didn’t have any. He’s a great kid.”

“If I had a player like Dong Wook now in his prime, I would unconditionally take him to the national team,” Chu said, showing his love for his protégé to the end.

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