‘Exceptional prospect’ Ko Hyun-ji (18) was selected first overall.
The Cheongju KB Stars selected forward Ko Hyun-ji, who played at Gwangju Supia Girls High School, at the 2023-2024 Women’s Basketball League (WKBL)토토사이트 New Player Selection Meeting held at Cheongju Gymnasium on Thursday.
The daughter of women’s basketball legend Cho Moon-ju, Ko is considered one of the best forwards in high school basketball. She is characterized by her ability to score and rebound with her good physical condition at 6-foot-2. She won the best player, scoring, and defense awards in the 2022 Spring League. She was also named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Girls’ High School Division of the 2022 KHSAA Weekend League Wangjung Wang. In the 2023 Spring League, she won the Most Valuable Player and Rebounding awards. She was also selected for the age-group national team.
Ko’s mother, Cho Moon-ju, a gold medalist at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, also played for Kookmin Bank when she was unemployed. It’s a touching mother-daughter story, with Ko also wearing a KB jersey.
KB earned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019-2020 draft, four years after selecting Heo Ye-eun, the team’s starting guard, with the first overall pick. KB head coach Kim Wan-soo, who selected Ko Hyun-ji, said, “The No. 1 pick is an honor. I thought about it a lot. I haven’t seen Ko for a year or two. For me, I’ve been watching him since elementary school. He has enough potential to grow. It may be difficult right now, but if he grows, he can become a player who represents Korea.”
Ko Hyun-ji, who burst into tears of joy, said, “Thank you KB for believing in me and selecting me. I’m grateful to come to KB as the number one pick.” “I will adapt to the team quickly. I will be helpful to the team and shine like my mom,” he said.
KB head coach Kim Wansu and Ko Hyun-ji (right). /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Ko Hyun-ji (left) and KB coach Jung Mi-ran in tears after being named. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Busan BNK selected two players in the first round. Shortly after the lottery, BNK traded Kim Sion to Bucheon Hana OneQ in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2023-2024 draft and a first-round pick in the 2025-2026 draft. This gave BNK Hana OneQ’s second-round pick.
With the second pick in the first round, BNK head coach Park Jung-jeong chose Hyosung Girls’ High School forward Kim Jong-yeon (18). She stands 177 centimeters tall and is known for her bouncy play. Kim said, “I want to be a player who always improves. My MBTI is INTJ. I will continue to work hard when I go to the pros.”
The third-ranked Incheon Shinhan Bank selected guard Heo Yoo-jung (18) from Bundang Business School. Although he is a guard, he has a good physical condition with a height of 174 centimeters, and his strength is stable ball handling. If she develops well, she is expected to be a big boost for Shinhan Bank, which is lacking in guard talent.
“I’m honored to be in this position,” said Heo, “and I’ll do my best on the court as a professional player. Compared to animals, I was called a ‘rhinoceros’ a lot. Now I want to play like a ‘monkey.’ A rhinoceros means ‘bump and grind,’ and I want to play like a monkey in the future,” he said.
Kim Jong-un receiving his nomination from Busan BNK. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Incheon Shinhan Bank head coach Gunadan (left) hands over a jersey to Heo Yoo-jung, who was nominated by the team. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Fourth-ranked Yongin Samsung Life Insurance selected Lee Yena, 18, from Cheongju Girls High School. She is 178 centimeters tall and plays forward. “I want to go to Samsung Life, adapt quickly and become a valuable player for the team,” Lee said.
Park Jung-jeong was another first-round pick for BNK. As a result, Park Da-won (18) from Bundang Business School donned the BNK jersey. She is a 180-centimeter forward. “I am grateful to the BNK coach and coaching staff for selecting me,” Park said.
Lee Yena, who was drafted by Yongin Samsung Life. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Park Da-won in her Busan BNK jersey. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Shinhan Bank forward Byun So-jung’s younger sister, Byun Ha-jung, 18, of Bundang Business School, was selected sixth overall by Asan Woori Bank. At 5-foot-9, she has the same physical attributes as her sister, who is 5-foot-10. Byun Ha-jung said, “I can’t afford to look back as they picked me because I’m not good enough. I will make sure that I don’t lack for anything. I was selected in the sixth position of the first round, but I will make sure that no player is left behind.”
Shortly after the first round selection, a surprise trade was made. BNK traded its second-round pick to Shinhan Bank in exchange for Shim Soo-hyun, which gave Shinhan Bank the second-round pick.
Woori Bank Asan head coach Lee Sati-woo (left) and Byun Ha-jung. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
The site of the 2023-2024 rookie draft. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
With the first pick in the second round, Woori Bank selected Hwabongo forward Kim Sol (174 centimeters), and with the second pick in the second round, Shinhan Bank selected compatriot Katie Timmerman (24). Timmerman, a 173-centimeter guard from Concordia University in the U.S., was born to an American father and a Korean mother. She played in 122 career NCAA Division II games, averaging 9.8 points and 3.7 rebounds. He is also a strong 3-point shooter with a 34.5% success rate.
“Hello,” Timmerman said in Korean, “I’m grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started and show the best version of myself that I can. I want to do my best to prove myself in this league.” “I want to make my mom proud,” he added.
Incheon Shinhan Bank head coach Gunadan (left) and Katie Timmerman. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
Shin Tae-hee in her Bucheon Hana OneQ uniform. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
In addition, second-round pick Samsung Life selected 174cm guard Kim Soo-in from Sungkyunkwan High School, second-round pick Shinhan Bank selected 186cm center Seo Jin-young from Sunil Women’s High School, second-round pick Hana OneQ selected 178cm forward Shin Tae-hee from Sangju Women’s High School, and second-round pick KB selected 166cm guard Sung Soo-yeon from Chuncheon Women’s High School.
The other six teams gave up their third- and fourth-round picks. Out of a total of 29 applicants, only 12 were able to fulfill their dreams of joining the pros.
KB coach Kim Wan-soo said, “The selected players found jobs, but the other 17 players were not selected. I’m sorry for the players,” he said, adding, “I wasn’t a good basketball player either. The players who weren’t selected must be crying tears of pain, but don’t be discouraged, go out into society and do your best, and you’ll get a chance, so I hope you have strength.”
Byun Ha-jung (left) with her sister Byun So-jung (Shinhan Bank, Incheon), who was nominated by Asan Woori Bank. /Photo courtesy of WKBL
KB Director Kim Wansu. /Photo courtesy of WKBL