Before Lee Hyun-jin (22-Hanyang University) was called, his ‘twin brother’ Lee Hyun-seung (22-Hyundai Capital) was talking on mobile messenger and making phone calls.
“He kept calling and messaging me, even though I knew I was at the draft site and couldn’t answer the phone,” said Lee Hyun-jin, who was the 20th and last player to be called by Samsung Fire at the Korean Volleyball Organization (KOVO) V League 2023-2024 Men’s Rookie Draft held at Mayfield Hotel in Gangseo-gu, Seoul on Tuesday. I still have a huge pile of messages,” he said, adding, “Before I was called, I told him, ‘It’s okay. Those who go to the pros first get the first chance, but those who come late also have a chance to do well,'” he laughed.
Setter Lee Hyun-seung first tried out for the 2022-2023 draft in October last year, when he was a junior at Hanyang University, and was selected by Hyundai Capital with the second overall pick and is playing his second season.
Lee Hyun-jin, a left-handed apogee spiker, knocked on the door of the pros this year before graduating from college.
His name was not called in the first three rounds of the draft. Trainee players do not receive a contract.
The moderator asked, “Are there any teams that would like to nominate a trainee player? KB Insurance nominated Jeon Jong-nyeong (Kyunggi University), and then Samsung Fire manager Kim Sang-woo raised his hand and called out “Hanyang University’s Lee Hyun-jin”.
Lee was the last player to be called.
“I was nervous until the end,” he said, “I’m glad and happy, but I also feel sorry for my teammates and juniors whose names were not called.”
While the “early draft,” where players try out for the pros before graduating from college, has become a mainstream trend in the men’s professional volleyball league, Lee Hyun-jin calmly developed his skills during his four years of college.
He even got a taste of the professional life through Lee Hyun-seung, who stepped onto the professional court a year earlier.
The team that drafted him was Hyundai Capital’s longtime rival, Samsung Fire.
“In volleyball, it’s ‘Samsung Fire and Hyundai Capital,'” Hyun-jin said, “Hyun-seung is already a professional player, and I was named a trainee player this time, so I have to work harder to become a real professional player (officially registered player). Later, when I play for Hyundai Capital, I will definitely beat him,” he said motivatedly.
“My parents love me as a younger brother more than my older brother. They will support me more in the pros,” he claims, adding, “Hyun-seung even protested to his parents, saying, ‘Why are you only going to watch Hyun-jin play?
Despite passing the difficult gateway, in order to play “twin matches” in the V-League, Hyun-jin must go through the even more difficult process of becoming a registered player.
The barrier is even higher for Lee Hyun-jin’s main position, the apogee spiker, as most professional teams choose foreign players to play the position.
“I have a lot of respect for all the older Korean apogee spikers,” says Lee, “I’m not the tallest (195.2 centimeters) among apogees, but I have the ability to handle the ball at key moments. Being left-handed is also an advantage,” he said, emphasizing his strengths.
Of course, he is also motivated to grow further.
“I will persevere on the rough road,” said Lee Hyun-jin. I’ve heard that in the pros, you can train more systematically,” he said, adding, “Today I’m the last to be called, but one day I’ll be the first.”
Lee Hyun-seung’s message, “Opportunity also comes to those who come late,” was similarly meaningful. 스포츠토토