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Osaka Evessa Newcomer Hyunjung Lee Exhibits Talent from the Get-Go

In his first six games in the B.League, South Korean swingman Hyunjung Lee scored in double figures five times, including 23- and 24-point performances.



Hyunjung Lee
Osaka Evessa guard/forward Hyunjung Lee drives to the basket as Ryukyu Golden Kings forward Vic Law defends on March 20, 2024, at Okinawa Arena. (B.LEAGUE)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Osaka Evessa Newcomer Hyunjung Lee Exhibits Talent from the Get-Go

South Korean sharpshooter Hyunjung Lee has made a positive impact since joining the B.League's Osaka Evessa in March. He will be with the team for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

The 23-year-old shooting guard/small forward has appeared in the Western Conference squad's last six games. He made his B.League debut on March 20 against the Ryukyu Golden Kings and had 24 points, four rebounds and four assists at Okinawa Arena in the Evessa's 89-79 defeat.

Since then, with Lee in the starting lineup, the Evessa (20-28) have won five consecutive games.

The 201-cm swingman had his first double-double in the B.League on Saturday, March 30, finishing with team-high totals in points (23) and rebounds (11) in a 96-74 home rout of the Levanga Hokkaido. Lee also dished out a team-best five assists as the Evessa had their highest-scoring game of the season.

After the weekend series-opening triumph, center Shawn Long, the team's leading scorer this season (18.6 points per game), highlighted the Evessa's cohesive play in the victory. 

"We won the game because we were able to play as a team throughout the game," Long told reporters.


In Sunday's rematch, Lee contributed 15 points on 5-for-17 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists as Osaka completed the series sweep with a 98-90 decision. Five Evessa players scored in double figures, with Makoto Kinoshita's 22 leading the club.

"We have 12 games left, but we will focus on the next game [on April 6] against the San-en NeoPhoenix first in order to further improve our team strength," Evessa head coach Mathias Fischer told reporters after the match.

Hyunjung Lee
Hyunjung Lee (KYODO)

Capitalizing on an Opportunity to Play in Japan

After a 6-0 start in October, the Evessa have slipped out of playoff contention. But their improved play of late is linked to Lee's arrival with 18 games remaining in their season.

Lee, a former Davidson (North Carolina) College standout, completed his first season of a three-year deal with the Australian National Basketball League's Illawarra Hawks in March. He averaged 7.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 17.2 minutes in 32 games, including the playoffs, for the Hawks. Melbourne United eliminated the Hawks in a playoff semifinal series.

Since he joined the Evessa, he's averaging 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 28-plus minutes per game.

While in Japan, Lee is using the early portion of Illawarra's offseason to focus on making improvements as a player.

"I am disappointed that the NBL season ended early [for the Hawks], but I am happy to have joined Osaka Evessa and am having a meaningful time," Lee told reporters on March 26, after he'd already appeared in two Evessa games. 

He added, "I am looking forward to enjoying playing in Japan while making the most of these opportunities."


Without stating that Fischer inserted him into the starting lineup right away, Lee pointed out, "My teammates and coaches have put a lot of faith in me, and I want to live up to their expectations."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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