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“What, KCC left the state?” ‘Jordan Kobe’ Jefferson was shocked [Manila Times].

KCC’s departure from Jeonju came as a big shock to foreign players.

Jordan lost 80-93 to Mexico on Feb. 2 in Group N of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. Jordan finished the tournament without a win in five games.

안전놀이터There were some familiar faces on the Jordanian squad. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 28, played for KCC as a foreign player last season. He played in the NBA from 2015-2021 and had high hopes for the KBL, but was released midway through the season.

After arriving in Korea as a replacement for Tyler Davis, Jefferson served as Lagana’s backup but failed to live up to expectations. In 38 games, Jefferson played 11:28 minutes per game and scored 10.1 points. He showed flashes of explosiveness, including a 37-point outburst against KGC before being sent home, but was inconsistent. His work ethic was criticized by head coach Jeon Chang-jin and he was eventually released mid-season. After leaving Korea, he played in the Philippine League and then the Puerto Rico League.

Jefferson is now a member of the Jordanian national team, where he was an ace at the Basketball World Cup. While he lost his color as the No. 4 in South Korea, he’s been playing his position as a shooting guard for the Jordanian national team, and he’s been nothing short of a “Kobe”. Jefferson averaged 23.6 points in five World Cup games, ranking sixth among global players. That’s similar to NBA first-team guard and Canadian ace Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (23.8 ppg).

Jefferson, who wears the No. 24 jersey and wears Kobe’s shoes, looks just like Kobe in terms of scoring and movement. He also played for a professional team in the Philippines, making him a very popular player there. In the final game against Mexico, Jefferson poured in 26 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists, one steal, and one blocked shot, but the team fell short of victory.

I waited for Jefferson in the mix zone after the game. Jefferson was the most sought-after player, as Filipino reporters all wanted to interview him. After some fierce competition, I got the chance to talk to Jefferson. Funnily enough, Jefferson pronounced Jordan as “Jordan”.

  • How did you feel after the game?

I could have played better, but my turnovers cost us the game. I feel deeply responsible for the team’s loss. My injury could not be an excuse. I don’t care how high my scoring ranking is. It doesn’t matter because the team didn’t win. It’s my fault.

  • How did it feel to play for Jordan?

I’m grateful to the Jordanian nation for giving me the opportunity to play at the World Cup. The fans were amazing. The basketball federation gave me a first-class ticket, and the coaching staff did their best. I think Jordan can be the best in Asia in the future.

  • You look a lot like Kobe, not only in appearance but also in playing style.

Haha, I’ve watched tens of thousands of Kobe videos and studied him since I was a kid. I learned how serious he is about basketball, and I know how hard he trained. I tried to copy and learn as much as I could. I even meditated on my days off, just like Kobe.

  • You played a full 40 minutes today with no substitutions?

I’m a competitor. If the coach asks me to play all 40 minutes, I’ll do it. I don’t have a choice. I am physically ready to play the full time.

  • Did you know that KCC left Jeonju?

Oh my God, I haven’t heard about it. I have many memories in Jeonju. My KCC teammates were very good to me and I loved them. It was a lot of fun. The staff also helped me a lot, including the translator. Even though my trip to Korea ended badly, it was a chance to learn a new culture and get better at basketball.

  • Do you have a chance to play against Korean teammate Ragan-ah at the Asian Games?

I texted her three or four weeks ago and said, “Hey Inma, let’s play against each other at the Asian Games! Haha. He was a great teammate. He’s the best brother. I was also close with his family. His wife made really good sandwiches. We’re going to hang out when I get back to the States. I’m looking forward to playing against him at the Asian Games.

[Photo courtesy of KBL

  • How did it feel to finish the World Cup?

It’s amazing that I was able to have such an amazing experience while not being a member of Team USA (I’m a naturalized Jordanian). I had the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world. It’s something I’ve always wanted. I couldn’t be more grateful to Jordan. It meant a lot to me.

  • As the team’s ace, the pressure must have been intense.

It was a lot of pressure because I had to carry the whole country of Jordan on my shoulders. They call me ‘Kobe’ and I haven’t won a single match. So I feel so responsible. It breaks my heart. I did everything I could to win.

  • There is talk that FIBA will limit the number of naturalized players in future World Cups?

I don’t have any authority. If FIBA says I can’t play, I can’t play. It’s not my decision. I just play basketball.

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