KCC Hollis Jefferson expelled… It’s not just a player’s problem

There is no player greater than the team. Even those with careers from the world’s best stage, the NBA (US professional basketball), are no exception. Jeonju KCC, a professional basketball team, chose a bitter breakup with foreign player Ronde Hollis Jefferson.

KCC announced the withdrawal of Jefferson ahead of the away match against Suwon KT in the ‘2022-2023 SKT A-Dot Professional Basketball’ held at Suwon KT Sonicboom Arena on February 12th. The decisive reason was ‘slowdown’. The KCC side explained, “Jefferson didn’t try to play properly. In the last two games, he only passed even when he had to attack.” Coach Jeon Chang-jin was furious, saying, “I’ve never seen such a foreign player before.”

Jefferson, a small forward, was selected 23rd in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft and boasts a brilliant career, having played for six seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, and Portland Trail Blazers. His career in the NBA was fairly decent for a sixth man, with 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 22.2 minutes in 305 games. In the 2017-2018 season, which was an NBA career high, he played an average of 28.2 minutes and scored a whopping 13.9 points, playing an active role as a key player. He was one of the most experienced foreign players ever to enter the KBL.

KCC recruited national players Lee Seung-hyun and Heo Woong as FAs (free agents) in the existing Laguna this season, and then joined Jefferson to build a strong power and emerge as a strong championship candidate. KCC expected Jefferson to serve as a second option and bench ace to support Laguna.

However, the footprint Jefferson left on KBL fell short of expectations. Jefferson recorded only 10.1 points (29th) and 3.8 rebounds (26th) in 38 games wearing the KCC uniform this season.

It was not a matter of his individual skill. Jefferson’s playing time this season is only 11 minutes and 28 seconds, but he has one offense that is sure enough to score double digits. The inaccurate mid-to-long-distance jumper, which was pointed out as a weakness in the NBA, was sluggish in the KBL, with a 3-point shot success rate of 20.7% and a free throw rate of 69.4%, but there was no player to stop one-on-one with only the breakthrough power using speed and athleticism.

The match against Anyang KGC on January 31st is considered the highlight that best showed Jefferson’s strengths. Jefferson scored 37 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block shot on the day, showing KGC’s foreign player Omari Spellman (34 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocked shots) in an unprecedented ‘showdown’. Although the game ended unfortunately with KCC losing by 2 points (81-83), Jefferson’s play was enough to be praised as fantastic. However, at the same time, this game became virtually the last game in which Jefferson played an active role in a KCC uniform.

The biggest problem was that Jefferson was a player who did not fit in with KCC’s team composition at all. In KCC, where Laguna was the first option, Jefferson’s playing time and utilization were bound to be limited to the sixth man. Even if Jefferson played during Laguna’s break, KBL had to take on the number 4 or 5 due to team circumstances, but Jefferson is a typical player who suits the number 3. In defense, if you match up with a strong, authentic big man-type foreign player from the opposing team, a problem called a mismatch occurs. This caused another problem, the physical overload of power forward Lee Seung-hyun, the only native big man.

Even if he wanted to use it as number 2 or 3, KCC already had a lot of shooter resources like Heo Woong, and he had to play a role overlapping with domestic players, and Jefferson’s shooting ability was not good. Jefferson could well have grown dissatisfied with the team’s inability to use their abilities properly.

But that doesn’t justify his sabotage. After the KGC match that drew attention for his showdown with Spellman, Jefferson was consistent with blatantly dishonest play. He turned the pass or walked around the court at the right time to attack. In the match between Changwon LG and Ulsan Hyundai Mobis, Jefferson scored no points without even attempting a field goal. It was meaningless to accompany a player who had already lost the will to run.

Jefferson’s exit itself is inexcusable, but on the other hand, it is clearly to blame not only for the players but also for the KCC. Concerns that Jefferson is a player who does not suit KCC despite his good skills have already been raised from the time he was recruited.

In fact, Jefferson’s failure came from Tyler Davis’ ‘butterfly effect’. KCC initially tried to recruit Tyler Davis, an orthodox big man, as a priority, and went to the brink of actually signing the contract, but it was canceled due to a sudden change of heart on the part of the player. 슬롯사이트

However, Davis previously played for KCC in the 2020-2021 season and canceled the contract due to injury treatment and NBA challenge ahead of the playoffs. KCC, who lost Davis, suffered the humiliation of losing all four games to Anyang KGC in the championship match despite winning the regular season championship. It was like getting hit in the back of the head twice by the same player.

Jefferson was the player KCC, which was only looking at Davis, urgently sought as a substitute. KCC, which spent all summer waiting for Davis, did not have time to properly verify Jefferson. We started the season without putting our hands and feet together believing only in the value of the name, but in the end, both the player and the club brought about unfortunate results.

Before blaming Jefferson alone, KCC and coach Jeon Chang-jin are responsible for not properly managing the players. If Jefferson was brought in, he would either have to find a way to use the player properly, or take care of the player’s mind so that he can sacrifice himself for the team, or he should have made a clear decision to quit early and make a change.

However, KCC, like when recruiting Davis, failed to make a definite decision on Jefferson and only dragged on the situation, worsening the situation. Coach Jeon Chang-jin is a person who has had many big and small troubles with foreign players before. In addition, in the middle of the season, rumors about Jefferson’s replacement were widely spread throughout the basketball world, but they did not come true. In such a chaotic situation, it would have been unreasonable to expect Jefferson’s loyalty to the team in the first place.

In KCC, both Lee Seung-hyun and Heo Woong, the local one-two punchers, have left due to injuries. KCC’s team’s rope injury relay, which has been repeated for several years, needs to be reviewed to see if there are any problems with the coaching staff’s team management or training method. Moreover, in a situation where a substitute foreign player could not be saved, Jefferson was brought back, resulting in the worst situation in which he had to endure with only one old man, Laguna, for the time being.

KCC, which was considered a favorite for the championship due to its huge investment, is now only 7th with a win rate of less than 50%, and it is difficult to guarantee advance to the playoffs in the semifinals. Responsibility for all this chaos is not just the fault of Jefferson alone, but the overall failure of KCC’s management of the club and team management.

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