S. Korean player Lee Hyun-jung declares for NBA draft
Published : Apr 27, 2022 - 11:42
Updated : Apr 27, 2022 - 11:43
Davidson College’s Lee Hyun-jung (holding the basketball) drives to the basket during a NCAA Division 1 game against Duquesne in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Feb. 16. (Davidson Wildcats)

South Korean basketball player Lee Hyun-jung declared for the rookie draft in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday, saying he is "excited" about the opportunity to pursue his dream of competing in the top league.

Lee, a junior wing for Davidson College Wildcats, made the announcement on his Instagram page. He will try to become only the second South Korean to play in the NBA, after the former Portland Trail Blazers center Ha Seung-jin.

"After putting some serious thoughts into the next chapter of my basketball career, I have decided to turn pro and will be entering the NBA draft this June," Lee said. "I don't know what will happen to me and where I will be in the next few months but I'm training very hard every day to get better and stronger."

The 21-year-old also said he will hire an agent and management company soon.

Lee, a sharpshooter listed at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, is regarded as a potential second round choice.

This year's draft will take place on June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The draft combine, where NBA hopefuls get to showcase their skills, will run from May 16 to 22.

In the 2021-2022 season, Lee averaged a career-high 15.8 points and six rebounds per game, en route to making the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team.

As a sophomore, Lee became the first Wildcat to put up the coveted 50-40-90 shooting numbers: 50.8 percent from the field, 44.2 percent from the three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line.

Lee comes from a basketball family. His mother, Seong Jeong-a, helped South Korea to the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. His father, Lee Yun-hwan, played semi-pro hoops in the 1980s and has been a prominent high school coach since retiring in 1991.

Lee thanked his Davidson coaching staff, teammates, fans and support staff for "three wonderful and unforgettable years," saying collegiate experiences helped him become stronger and more mature both as an athlete and a human being.

Ha, a 7-foot-3 center, was selected 46th overall by the Blazers in the 2004 draft, and appeared in 46 games across two seasons. Ha averaged 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in the NBA. (Yonhap)