For the first time in five years, Dankook University’s basketball team won the 74th National Basketball Championship. The competition is sponsored by KB Kookmin Bank and Yeonggwang province. It was held at the Yeonggwang Sportium National Sports Center and in three other locations. After a fierce engagement and a solid team effort, Dankook University (DKU) won the final by a score of 79-62, defeating Konkuk University.
Since its foundation in 1955, the DKU basketball team has had its ups and downs, repeating its pattern of disbandment and revival. In 2007, they reached the finals for the first time at the 44th National University Basketball League championships, but took home second place. After that, they showed great athletic performance by winning the National Basketball Championship in 2011 and 2014. They are always trying to make their mark as a mid-upper level team by constantly improving their competence. To learn more about the team and their efforts to improve, the Dankook Herald (DKH) interviewed Seok Seung-ho, director of the DKU basketball team.
Q1. How do you feel about winning the competition?
A. I want to thank my athletes for their harsh efforts. They overcame tough training and finally won the championship.
Q2. What kind of preparation did the basketball team go through for the tournament?
A. Actually this summer was an especially hard time for us. The air conditioner was not working well at school, so we had to train at an outside gym location for about 20 days this past summer. It had a good cooling system to keep our athletes working in a pleasant state during training. What I felt was the most critical part of training was the mental and physical strength of the athletes. We are always trying to improve these things through winter and summer training.
Q3. What was the most helpful experience from winning the championship?
A. As we are a strong team that experienced several championships and victories, I told our athletes to be confident in the finals and I think this gave them confidence.
Q4. What was the hardest thing you faced during preparation and how did the team overcome it?
A. There were a lot of injuries and it seems that I had put a strain on the players as I asked them to practice more often for the championship. There was also a conflict with players when they couldn't handle the hard training that was being asked of them. I tried to overcome the difficulties through constant communication with the athletes.
Q5. What do you think was good about this competition?
A. There were some players in our team who started training late and were slightly clumsy as compared to other players. This showed a lot in this game. I think we will become a better team by teaching these players to improve their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.
Q6. What do you think is the most important thing while coaching the basketball team?
A. I think the most important part is to maintain ‘an upright character’. I teach my athletes to be always polite to adults, especially their parents. While at school, I ask them to attend classes and get good grades, to set a great model for other students.
Q7. What is special about the basketball team of DKU?
A. I think it could be the fact that I barely allow them to slip out. I always emphasize that they are semi-pro. If they do not become a pro here, they cannot do sports anymore even if they want to. It is a cruel fact, but because of their lack of technical skills, as compared to athletes at the top universities, our athletes will be left behind if they do not train hard. I sometimes feel sorry for my players because they have to exercise a lot more than other teams.
Q8. What is the goal of the DKU basketball team for the rest of 2019 and how are they preparing for it?
A. Currently, we are in third place in the league. We are one match away from Yonsei University and Korea University now and there are about six games left. If we don’t lose here, I think we will be able to maintain third place. Our goal for this time is to train hard and make it to the finals.
Q9. What do you think about the potential of the DKU basketball team?
A. Our team has done well in recent years and I have heard that many high school teams are thinking positively about our basketball team. Also, we are constantly obtaining good results. I think the most important thing is to maintain our current record. So I think it is important to encourage our athletes to be confident and take pride in the DKU sports team.
Through the efforts of the coach and players, DKU was able to win the 74th National Basketball Championship. Despite their poor record in the first half of the season, players managed to overcome the tough training while the coach overcame his conflicts with the players. In the future, the basketball team will challenge higher goals. Thanks to the basketball team’s hard work, they have raised the DKU’s status and received the benefits of their efforts. The DKH wishes them continued success in the years ahead.
|▲ Director Seok Seung-ho is having an interview with DKH.|
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