‘The man who became the king of KBL’ Laguna’s journey to 10,000 points

Laguna (34, 199.2cm), who set the record for the most rebounds in KBL history, achieved another meaningful record. 5th all-time scoring 10,000 points. Considering the status of a foreign player, it is a monumental tower that is more difficult to build. Although he reigns as the king of KBL, Laguna’s journey has not always been smooth. Although he had lost his pride by being pushed to the second option, he fought hard and finally carved his name into KBL history. 온라인바카라

※ Prior to special naturalization, his name was Ricardo Ratliff, but it was unified as Laguna to avoid confusion.

Another gem found at PIT
Hyundai Mobis once preferred foreign players who had just graduated from college. There was also the risk of spending his first professional season abroad, but there was also the advantage that he could stay with him for 2 or 3 years as long as he finished adapting to the league due to the relatively low salary. A prime example is Brian Dunston. Hyundai Mobis confirmed the potential of Dunston, who had just graduated from college, through the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (hereinafter referred to as the PIT), in which prospective players from the United States were invited to participate, and in the 2008 foreign player draft, Dunston was practically named second. Hyundai Mobis won the regular league championship in both seasons with Dunstone, and in the 2009-2010 season, it also achieved its first combined championship after joining Ham Ji-hoon. There have been cases where the results weren’t as good as Lawrence Ekperigan and Malcolm Thomas, but the up-and-coming fresh out of college was definitely a lottery ticket to scratch.

Laguna, which will be introduced in this article, was also a gemstone found by Hyundai Mobis at PIT. A graduate of the University of Missouri, La Gun-ah has been attracting attention as a big man with mobility and power since his college days. In his senior year, he averaged 13.9 points and 7.5 rebounds, while shooting a whopping 69.3 percent. This was the first field goal rate in the United States. Lagunah also played an active role in the PIT with an average of 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds, and was selected as the best 5. Lee Do-hyun, secretary general of the Korea Archery Association, who was the Hyundai Mobis secretariat at the time, said, “The verified athletes were too expensive. So he looked for a player who could predict two or three years later, and Portsmouth was the birthplace. The fact that he was invited to the PIT means that he is a promising prospect who has been verified in the first place. Laguna was also a player who was evaluated as strong, fast, and sincere. He remembers that his field goal percentage was over 60% in his senior year. His scoring route was centered on the bottom of the net and the fast break, but his shot selection was not bad either. It was an adventure, but because he went to a good college, I had more expectations that he would be okay.” It was clear that he had limitations as an undersized big man to aim for the NBA, but it was also evaluated that he would be able to run long enough in the KBL. La Gun-ah said, “I could have been selected in the second round in the NBA draft, but he was not selected. He lost his first NCAA game, so he thinks he wasn’t selected in the second round. He had many people recommending the G League, but he thought he could lose money. He was recommended several foreign leagues through his agent, and KBL was also mentioned. So he chose KBL.” When Hyundai Mobis visited the PIT, it also listed Garrett Stutz, a 211cm tall big man, but it made up its mind after watching Laguna overwhelm Stutz in a head-to-head match. Hyundai Mobis, who confirmed Laguna’s potential through the PIT, nominated him as the 6th overall pick in the 2012 foreign player draft. Stutz was also nominated for Anyang KGC as the 10th pick, but was kicked out before the start of the 2012-2013 season.

Ragunah of the world was also a candidate for expulsion. Maybe
expectations were too high. At the beginning of KBL’s debut, Laguna’s competitiveness fell below expectations. His mobility and power were formidable as expected, but considering that he was a 1 option due to his poor 1v1 ability, he lost weight. Since it was his debut season as a pro, his seasoned beauty was also cited as a notable weakness. Hyundai Mobis tried to make up for the lack of skill lost in Laguna with Chris Burgess and Amal McCaskill, but these were also experienced players with low competitiveness. At the time, Yoo Jae-hak, Hyundai Mobis coach, put one of the remaining foreign player replacement cards on the list as candidates for expulsion of both McCaskill and Laguna. The official comment said, “Mccaskill has a height advantage and his skills and defense are decent. But it is slow and less active. Laguna has good power and speed, but she has no skills.” After much consideration, Hyundai Mobis expelled McCaskill and recruited Curtis Withers, but this also did not become an alternative. In the end, Hyundai Mobis recruited Rod Benson through a big deal with Changwon LG and reorganized the team. Laguna, who had been highly anticipated as the ‘second Dunstone’, sat down as the second option. Laguna, who played an average of 26 minutes and 25 seconds in 35 games before the actual trade, only played an average of 18 minutes and 58 seconds in 19 games after Benson joined. Cha Gil-ho, manager of Hyundai Mobis, who was an interpreter at the time, said, “Since it was his first season of debut, he had a lot of motivation to do well, but he must have been upset because it didn’t work out like he thought. He never directly expressed his dissatisfaction, but when he was replaced, his reaction was always ‘Go Away’ even when he tried to comfort me.”

It was only for a moment that my pride was hurt. From the 2013-2014 season, when Hyundai Mobis welcomed him as the defending champion, La Gun-ah took a close look at Benson, his colleague and bona fide competitor, and fattened up inside. Although his playing time was further reduced, he developed the team’s emphasis on 2-on-2 defense, and gradually increased the frequency of his mid-range shots. “Benson was good at reading the moves of opponents in a two-on-two defense. His technique behind the goal was also better than mine. Now I know why Benson got more playing time. He was a foreign player recognized for his ability in the KBL, and after realizing that, he threw away his pride. Rather than being greedy for playing time, he decided to make sure he played the role the team wanted.” This is Laguna’s report. In fact, Laguna’s average playing time in the second year season was 17 minutes and 24 seconds, the lowest average since his debut in KBL, but the games he started (34 games) were much more than the games he played as substitutes (20 games). Option 1 was Benson, but it meant that Hyundai Mobis was still looking forward to Laguna’s potential.

storm growth
September 2014, ahead of Laguna’s third season at KBL. Hyundai Mobis has undergone major changes. Benson, who had been active as the first option ever since joining the trade, disobeyed the instructions of the coaching staff and disregarded his teammates, taking an unfaithful attitude to training. These are the things that happened during the period when coach Yoo Jae-hak took the helm of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games team and was temporarily excluded from the team schedule. Benson reacted angrily to the instructions of the coaching staff and kicked the ball, and Hyundai Mobis decided to expel Benson after reporting the situation to coach Yoo Jae-hak. It happened with less than a month left until the season opener, but Hyundai Mobis had a corner to believe. It was the growth of Laguna, who had steadily accumulated experience for two seasons. Hyundai Mobis participated in the Taiwan Williams-Jones Cup held in the offseason, and Hyundai Mobis coach Yoo Jae-hak and Yang Dong-geun were selected for the national team at the time. In addition, Ham Ji-hoon and Lee Dae-sung stayed in Korea due to injuries, and Benson refused to participate in the William Jones Cup, demanding a separate participation allowance (one of the reasons for Benson’s unfaithful attitude to training was money after all). Hyundai Mobis participated in the William Jones Cup with the meaning of battery training, but as a Korean men’s team, it achieved its first championship in 15 years since 1999. Laguna’s potential finally exploded. Laguna played an average of 34 minutes and 28 seconds in 8 games at the William Jones Cup, with 24.3 points, 15.7 rebounds and 1.9 block shots, and was selected as the MVP and Best 5 of the tournament. It was thanks to his mobility and power, which were considered his strengths since his college days, plus his decent mid-range shooting ability. Based on this growth, Laguna took the 1st option position from the 2014-2015 season and led Hyundai Mobis to the first 3 consecutive championships in KBL history. After the 2014-2015 season was over, Lagunah went to the draft again after the 2014-2015 season due to the rule at the time that ‘foreign players cannot sign contracts for more than 3 years with one team’, and was selected by Seoul Samsung, which obtained the first overall pick. . As the proportion of the team increased significantly, the pace of scoring also accelerated from this point on. Laguna needed 142 games to reach 2,000 points in his career, but reached 3,000 and 4,000 points in 47 games, respectively. Samsung, who could hardly get out of the dark period, also enjoyed the spring festival for a while by reaching the semifinals and the championship match during the first two seasons with Laguna. Of course, in the 2017-2018 season, it left a dark history of being the first team to fail to advance to the playoffs even with Laguna… .

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