S. Korean basketball team coach resigns after Asian Games bronze

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Seoul, Sep 5 (IANS) South Korean men’s national basketball team head coach Hur Jae resigned on Wednesday following a third-place finish at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.

The Korea Basketball Association (KBA) said it accepted Hur’s intent to quit just four days after South Korea defeated Chinese Taipei in the bronze medal game in Jakarta. South Korea captured gold at the 2014 Asian Games but lost to Iran 80-68 in the semi-finals this year, reports Yonhap news agency.

The KBA added that Hur’s former assistant, Kim Sang-sik, will serve as the interim head coach when South Korea play Asian qualifying matches for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup on September 13 and 17.

The KBA said it will begin searching for a full-time replacement for Hur after September 17.

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Hur, widely regarded as South Korea’s greatest player ever, took over the national team in June 2016. His term was to expire in February next year.

On his watch, South Korea finished third at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and made it through the first round of the World Cup qualification earlier this year.

But Hur came under fire for selecting both of his sons, Heo Ung and Heo Hoon, for the Asian Games squad. Heo Hoon, a 180-centimetre point guard, was the first overall selection in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) last year and led all rookies in assists per game. But the KBA had pushed for a taller post player when Hur insisted on picking his younger son.

Both of the coach’s sons had limited impact on the team. Heo Hoon didn’t play in South Korea’s semi-final loss to Iran.

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For the upcoming World Cup qualifying games, Heo Ung and Heo Hoon have been left out in favour of An Young-jun and Yang Hong-seok, who combined for the silver medal in the men’s 3-on-3 basketball in Jakarta.

–IANS

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