“I like the irregular parts of other sports such as soccer and baseball. I searched and studied a lot.”
Kang Yang-hyeon (41), coach of the basketball team at Chosun University and coach of the Korea 3×3 basketball team, is a leader who studies. Behind Director Kang’s achievements, there were intense concerns and efforts.
Sports Seoul met director Kang, the real person of Yang Hyun (played by Ahn Jae-hong), the main character in the movie ‘Rebound’ (director Jang Hang-joon), which was released on the 5th of last month. ‘Rebound’ is a touching true story about the process of the Busan Joongang High School basketball team, the weakest team that no one paid attention to, achieving a splendid runner-up in the 37th Korea Basketball Association National Championships in 2012.
Director Kang said, “The content in the movie is a compressed version of my eight years as a coach at Busan Joongang High School.” Director Kang started as a temporary coach in 2006 when he was 26 years old, finished public service, and became a full-time coach at Busan Central High School in 2008 when he was 28 years old.
“The first five years were the hardest to coach. I always had thoughts of quitting. Since I was young, managing my parents was very difficult.”
It was not an easy task to lead a basketball team in a poor environment at a young age. The film focuses on the story of the 2012 national championships, and director Kang recalled, “I was at least happy at that time.”
In 2012, Jinwook Jeong, one of six players who participated in the national championships, was injured in the first game and could not play the remaining games. To make matters worse, the Busan Jungang High School basketball team, which had only 6 members, had no replacement players. Director Kang said, “I just bumped into that moment. In the quarterfinals of the 2011 tournament, we met Yongsan High School, but we lost by one point after being hit by a buzzer beater. So I had the confidence to do it. But (Jung) Jin-wook was hurt and it was very difficult at that time,” he laughed.
At the 2011 Spring Tournament, they advanced to the quarterfinals. At that time, he met Yongsan High School in the quarterfinals and lost unfortunately. The miracle of the runner-up in the 2012 national competition did not happen overnight. In 2012, Busan Jungang High School lost to Yongsan High School, where Heo Hoon was playing, in the final match.
Coach Kang cited the spirit and tactics of the players as the secret to the runner-up at the time. “The players had guts and a desire to win. So I didn’t order anything in particular, and I talked a lot about boosting my confidence and focusing,” he said. “At the time, English Premier League (EPL) Chelsea manager Mourinho was called ‘Special One’ and was popular, and I was deeply interested in football tactics while watching him.” I came up with an unexpected story.
Coach Kang said, “In soccer, if one player wants to receive treatment for an injury, he or she has to come off the field and receive treatment, but if two players fall, they can be treated on the field. I tried to make such a moment-to-moment interval (intermediate rest). We came up with a lot of strategies to lead the game in our direction. The players also understood that part a lot and played the game.”
In the 2012 national competition, right before advancing to the final, in the semifinals, Heo Jae-yoon’s performance stood out. Director Kang said, “At the time, I worked until I came up with a strategy, but it didn’t come out well. So he asked Heo Jae-yoon to come out to the half court. He instructed Chun Ki-beom to shoot when the shot clock came close if the two defenses stick together. But that shot went in,” he smiled.
Coach Kang said, “It seems that the games played in the national championships were all done as planned. He got along well with the players. “You have to slow down,” “you have to push,” and “you have to hold on,” these three words were well understood by the players.” “Heo Jae-yoon said in an interview about this period, ‘It gave me a boost in my boring life,’ and I was grateful. He is a disciple who has been stepped on a lot, but he has grown up very well.”
Director Kang’s coaching days are more like a movie than a movie. He said, “Every day was a sitcom. His daily life was always repeated like in the movies. He went to see a lot of movies with the players. He often went to the sea and held a lot of small events.”
At the beginning of the movie, there is a scene where they run with their feet to collect lacking players. Director Kang said, “I made more phone calls than in the movie. He called more parents, lost more players to rival schools, and grieved more. I was forced to do things that I shouldn’t have thought about now. At the time, I think I had an inferiority complex and a sense of victimization in my heart. Also, I really felt that I should take responsibility for sending the children who believed in me and started exercising to college.”
In 2019, Coach Kang joined his alma mater Chosun University as the head coach of the basketball team. He, who is instructing students as the coach of the 4th year college basketball team, smiled and said, “I had a lot of setbacks, but I am enduring well.”
The biggest concern of college basketball players is ‘what to eat for a living’. Coach Kang is well aware of this and actively cooperates with the players to prepare for the ‘second life’. Coach Kang said, “Not all players succeed in basketball. The players are always reminded that the ‘second life’ is also important. I am fully cooperating with the players when it comes to licenses or things I can eat and live on. Eating and living is the most important thing.”ㅋㅋㅋ벳
Coach Kang was appointed as the director of the ‘Korea 3×3 Men’s National Basketball Team’ in April 2021, and made a feat of advancing to the quarterfinals in four years at the ‘FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2022’ held last year. At the Asian Cup held this year, he failed to advance to the main draw.
Director Kang, who said, “I was disappointed with the results this year,” now turns to the Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be held at the end of September. Coach Kang said, “Being on the national team is a passionate and responsible position. No matter which player is selected, he must go for the championship,” he promised to promote.