“Ha-na! Dul!” “Chung-Ang!” A communal strength of mind reverberates on Chung-Ang University’s (CAU) Anseong campus. The basketball gymnasium is effused with cheers. In the gymnasium, CAU basketball players are training hard. They are heroes who have fleeced 38 consecutive victories with six consecutive championships. Behind the victories, Kim Sang-jun (40), head coach of CAU, was always supporting the team. And CAU took another excellent coach recently. He is Kim Young-man (36), assistant coach of CAU. On a cold day, Chung-Ang Herald (CAH) met the head and assistant coaches at a basketball gymnasium at CAU.
‘Set On the Championship’ - Kim Sang-jun
Congratulations to your 38 consecutive victories! Are there special preparations for consecutive victories?
KIM: No. CAU basketball team did not exercise specifically for consecutive victories. Until now, there were never any exceptions or changes even though we recorded outstanding results. Our goal has always been set on the championship. We just trained hard. In our case, the players and staff hate to lose even one game. Due to this passion, we were able to obtain another honor, 38 consecutive victories. To be sure, fortune has smiled on us.
A concern in University basketball is its decreasing popularity. Please tell the past situation. Moreover, what is needed to develop university basketball?
Kim: When I was a CAU player, CAU’s basketball team started to beat Korea University and Yonsei Univ. In those days, most University informed students about basketball games. In particular, CAU would offer a bus and many students went to the stadium on that bus to cheer CAU basketball team. However, this picture started to disappear suddenly. In addition, as CAU’s basketball team won several champions, students’ interests grew less and less. Of course, CAU’s administration and faculty are supporting us well these days, but there needs to be more interests. We do not just play the game for victory. We take a kind of role as public ambassadors and build relationships through broadcasting and newspapers. I hope that students studying at the library will cheer CAU’s team to victory at the stadium. First, it would be great if the president and the chair of CAU would visit our final game, we would be encouraged to play well.
How is the Home & Away League System progressing?
Kim: The Home & Away League System is at an early stage. The reason why it is being promoted is to induce the students to have interest in university basketball games. If this system becomes realized, then most games will be held at stadiums of each university. Then many students will be able to see basketball games easily. In the case of home games, students will visit their stadium. This system provides another leisure which students can enjoy after class. Through their cheering, national university, basketball will be revitalized just as the *NCAA.
*NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association ? the league of USA college basketball.
What is your opinion about the Home & Away League System in light of CAU’s head coach?
Kim: I consider that a positive. Actually, the form of league will be more interesting than the form of tournament. But frankly, this system is against us. The strongest team can row over in tournament. However, none of the teams can row over in league because of the home advantage. If the home students cheer their team, most weak teams can play better at home games. At this point, the home advantage dominator will disappear for us. Still, CAU’s basketball team will be able to play better if CAU students encourage us.
The MBC basketball tournament will be held in April. Please tell us about the goals and resolutions of CAU team.
Kim: We are forever the same. Our goal is set on being champions. To be sure, it is difficult to say that we do not care about consecutive victories because our surroundings mention it frequently, but we do not feel a pressure or burden to do it. We just go forward with our focus on the champion. Although we lose one preliminary game, we can win to get the championship. Actually, there is one worry. Some central players graduated last year, but we are filling the loss with some great new players. This loss is same for all university teams. So we do not have a big problem to win a game. If that happens, we will make the new record of consecutive victories naturally.
Korean Basketball Superstar Came Back Home - Kim Young-man
After you enjoyed so many honors as a player, you came back as an assistant coach. What is your resolution as an assistant coach, not as a player?
Kim: I started a second life as assistant coach. As a basketball player, I enjoyed every honor and accomplished all my desires. Merely, it is inconvenient to retire from basketball playing so early. If not for injury, I would have played basketball one year more, but I was honored with being appointed assistant coach at CAU. Moreover, I am pleased that our team kept up its good athletic condition and won all those games after I came. Nowadays, I am trying to break the 49 consecutive victories (recorded by Korea University in 1970). I will do my best for CAU.
What do you tell your juniors as CAU coach and senior?
Kim: Because I was a pro basketball player, I give a talk, which I experienced in pro league. Although exercise is important to university players, it is more important to be active as an excellent player for a long time. Their life of basketball should not end in University. Therefore, I give advice about how to succeed as a star player. To be a good player, they should self-administer consistently and learn many individual skills. My desire is that CAU juniors become good players in the pro league.
You are distinguished as a member of *‘Heo-Dong-Man trio’. But you are the youngest among them. Are there any burdens and episodes?
Kim: (laugh) No, I did not feel any pressure. Because I am the youngest, I followed and went as the elder brothers (Heo-Jae and Kang-Dong-hee) played. And there was an episode about ‘Heo-Dong-Man trio’. When we played for KIA (the former pro basketball team), we had a bad record in one preliminary game. That game was at one of the largest tournaments, ‘Basketball Festival’. That tournament was the last in the history of Korean basketball. Therefore, we dined together including Kim-Yoo taek and wrote in our own blood. I did not remember the contents of that very well. After that, we finally set on the champion of the last tournament.
*‘Heo-Dong-Man trio’: the trio consisted of Heo Jae, Kang dong-hee and Kim Young-man. They are CAU graduates. This trio is a legend of Korean basketball.
You were a basketball player of CAU in the 90’s. How do you feel about the recent atmosphere compared with that of the 90’s?
Kim: The atmosphere today is quite different with that of the 90’s. When I returned to CAU with retirement, I absolutely felt the 90’s was the superlative period of prosperity for CAU basketball. If we had gotten a good record like these days, a war would have broken out on campus. However, the concern about university basketball disappeared these days. It is serious as far as the matches are not broadcasted. Even so, the final match is broadcasted only. Many star players are needed in university basketball field. In addition, mass media should focus on university basketball including star players. I feel inconvenient.
To University Students
Kim Sang-jun: Actually, recent university basketball is more exciting and faster than before. As long as you enjoy basketball anyway, please come to the basketball stadium and cheer for your alma mater. If your alma mater wins the match, you will be pleased with getting rid of your stress. We promise you to make a good result for your concern.
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To CAU Students
Kim Young-man: Nowadays, a lot of leisure such as MLB and NBA exist. For these reasons, the popularity of university basketball is decreasing. I want many students to have an interest in university basketball. CAU is famous for basketball traditionally. Please keep the pride for CAU in your mind.