“I’m the youngest. I have to play more than my older brothers. That’s my role.”
Kim Jun-il (202 cm, C) made his debut in the 2014-2015 season. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in his rookie season. However, he didn’t show much growth after that. In the 2021-2022 season, he switched teams from Samsung to LG in Changwon.
However, in his first game with LG, he tore his Achilles tendon and was out for the season. He returned for the 2022-2023 season. He didn’t get many chances at the beginning of the season, but as time went on, he got more.
LG had an unusual rotation last season. In the process, Jun-il was one of the players who led the second unit alongside Dante Cunningham (203 cm, F). This meant that his playing time was somewhat limited, but his value was fully realized. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 15 minutes per game.
Looking back, Kim says, “I played as a sixth man for LG. It’s an experience I may never have again. I felt so many things during the process. I played a lot of different positions and experienced a lot of different things. Sometimes I would come in short and change the game. Then sometimes I came off the bench and played the rest of the game. So I learned a lot about how and when to come in and what to do, and I’m very grateful for that,” he said, reflecting on last season 안전놀이터.
“Then I got a lot of offensive opportunities off the bench. Coach Cho likes to play a lot of fast offense after a strong defense, so I played a lot. Then, if it got blocked, I had a lot of offense between the second units. There were many cases where I scored from the freerolls, and I found my skills and confidence.”
With his health and skills fully proven, Kim became a free agent this offseason, and he chose the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis. The team already had established big men in Ham Ji-hoon (198 cm, F) and Jang Jae-seok (204 cm, C).
When I mentioned this, he said, “People around me were worried about the fact that the Hyundai Mobis already had big men. In fact, when I was younger, I was greedy for playing time. But after playing like that last season, I realized that playing time isn’t the only thing that matters. Of course, I haven’t completely abandoned playing time. (Laughs) However, I have a better understanding of basketball thanks to my various experiences at LG. I am now confident that I can quickly change the atmosphere in any situation I enter,” he responded.
He continued, “I may play for Hyundai Mobis for a short time. At LG, it was hard at first, but I can overcome it because I have experience. The important thing is that I have to play well.”
When asked to compare himself to Ham Ji-hoon and Jang Jae-seok, Kim said, “Both of my brothers are very good players. But I also have certain advantages. I’m the youngest. (Laughs) I have to play more than my brothers. I think that’s my role. I want to help the team by being active in the offense.”
Hyundai Mobis has many players born in 1999. Signing Jin (187 cm, G) and Lee Woo-seok (196 cm, G) are the main ones. Kim Jun-il said, “I’m looking forward to playing with the younger players. But I don’t have any big plans. (Laughs) There were a lot of young players at LG as well. However, (Seo) Myung-jin-i has definitely grown over the past season, and (Lee) Woo-seok is also a player who is sure of his talent. I didn’t do much, but I want to help them grow as much as possible, so I’m looking forward to that part a little bit.”