July 14, 2008
As many of you know, I – Simon – play a lot of basketball. I play every day unless rain or socializing gets in the way, and it rarely does. I have a basketball court a stoneâ€™s throw away from our apartment, and I can check from the window in the hallway if anybody is playing or not. Iâ€™ve got in pretty sweet here, Iâ€™ll admit, but there are a few things about this scenario that bother me; namely, the state of Korean basketball. If you like to play basketball and plan on coming to Korea, you will find a few things that make you want to scratch your head:
1. Scoring: If a full-court game is going on, Iâ€™m pretty sure the rules are: first to 500 points wins. Seriously, the games go on forever here. In Canada I used to play first to 21 points wins. Here the points keep going and going and going.
2. Fast-Break Offence: Essentially, fast-break offence is the only offence everyone seems to be good at. The plan is this: get a defensive rebound, and throw the ball as fast as you can to a teammate on the other side of the court. He will score a layup. If this fails, resort to plan b.
3. Plan B Offence: This is the worst kind of offence. From what I have seen, nobody in Korea likes to shoot from anywhere farther than four-feet away. If they could not get a fast-break layup, then they will pass the ball around to their teammates, over and over again, in hopes that one of them will be close enough to the rim to score a layup. If not, they will continue to pass, and pass, and pass. Itâ€™s not uncommon for a team to make more than 15 passes per posession. Itâ€™s really painful to watch. However, some people know of a secret weapon in these situations:
4. Secret Weapon: Head fakes, ladies and gentlemen, are golden here. Itâ€™s as if someone just discovered them here. If you do a headfake, youâ€™re guaranteed to get your defender off his feet. Every defender here is as gullible as possible, and will bite for your headfakes every single time. You would think that this secret weapon would no longer be a secret after being used so often, but, no no no. Indeed, everytime is like the first time with a headfake.
Of course, I canâ€™t say that this is the state of Korean basketball in its entirety. I wonâ€™t be that naive or stereotypical. What I can say for sure is that every time I have watched a basketball game on the courts by my house I have seen these four rules come into play every time without fail. Maybe at the court by my school different rules are in play. Maybe. I will have to see. I will report my findings once I play elsewhere…