This article was published in the March 2023 issue of Basket Korea webzine. The interview for this article was conducted at 10 am on February 14, 2023 (Link to Buy Basket Korea Webzine).
Park Gyu-tae boasted quick feet and high jumping ability from an early age. So he was a good match for the fast and high-jumping basketball. He added to the basics and grew into a player representing the SK youth club.
Park Gyu-tae said, “I think my biggest strength is my athletic ability. He jumps so high that I even heard people say he looks like a mixed-race player.” If you were good at jumping in the past, now you have the basics and skills. As a result, he presented numerous championship cups to the SK youth club.
When did you start playing basketball?
I started in the 2nd semester of the 4th grade of elementary school. It started as a school hobby class on the recommendation of a friend I used to play with. After two or three months there, the coach at the time recommended the SK club national team. At that time, I was tall and could run faster than others. Originally, I was good at running and jumping, so I think I quickly stood out. It was almost in the 5th grade that I was selected for the SK club national team and started exercising in earnest.
What was your first impression of the SK club team?
It was really different from the hobby class. Everyone worked hard and did well. So it was difficult to follow at first. First of all, I wasn’t that fond of sports at the time. I was physically weaker than others. It was hard both physically and mentally. Still, I think I endured because the coaches and teammates really warmed up to me.
When did you adapt?
It seems to have taken about half a year. In fact, during the first training, I even thought that I had come to the wrong place. (Laughter) My body couldn’t keep up with the training. But over time, my body and mind naturally adapted. Basketball is so much fun now that I think I was able to hold on well then. (Laughter) Now I’m just thinking about basketball before going to bed or when I’m alone.
What would you say are the strengths of the SK youth club?
First of all, the director and coaches are really kind. And the students are also serious about basketball. So synergy seems to work better. In our grade, there are many kids who have been working together for a long time. About 5 out of 10 have been together for more than 3 years. In particular, the three of them go to school together. So with a bit of exaggeration, you can tell just by looking at the eyes. (Laughter) Personally, I am closer than my school friends and try to play basketball together often. So, I think organizational ability is the best strength of our team.
What kind of basketball are you playing at the club?
Our team is not very tall. So, we compete with organizational power. Through strong pressure defense, it causes the opponent’s mistakes and makes a quick attack. Everyone has been running fast ever since. In addition, coach Kyu-Beom Lee’s delicate coaching goes into it. As a result, I was able to play high-quality basketball.
Do you have a lot of competition experience?
Yes, I think I did it over 10 times. In fact, there were many shortcomings in the first competition. So we lost to other teams. Since then, it seems that everyone has come together and done their best. Personally, I had a strong desire to win, so I got angry and motivated. Back then, I worked out 6 times a week. (Laughter)
How were your grades after that?
Starting with winning the 4th or 5th competition, the Yanggu Championship, there is also an experience of winning consecutively. Except for one or two in the middle, I think it’s pretty much a win. The team performed well and I did well, so I was awarded MVP of the tournament. Won the MVP award at the 2022 Incheon Metropolitan City Spring Basketball Tournament, the S Cup Youth Basketball Tournament, and the Gangnam Seocho School Sports Club Competition.
How has your team changed?
It just seems like they all worked hard together in team training and individual training, so their skills improved quickly. In addition, the coaches and coaches taught me delicately. It is a team that values teamwork in particular, but I think the biggest thing is that teamwork has improved over time.
What is your basketball style?
Originally, I focused on rebounding, dirty work, and scoring under the net while watching the center. However, he is not growing taller than expected, so he is looking at a forward now. Now I’ve learned to play outside and I’m playing as versatile as I can. He jumps well, so he is confident in his layups, penetrations, and jump shots. Still, the best thing seems to be athletic ability. I’ve even heard that he looks like a mixed-race player because he jumps so high.
Do you have a favorite basketball player?
I don’t watch it often, but I enjoy the NBA. I watch review videos and watch reruns in the evening. That’s why I fell in love with Kevin Durant. Although he is a forward, he is really versatile. I fell in love with his jump shot while dribbling inside. I try to imitate it by watching the play all the time. But it was hard. (Laughter)
Did you also see the movie ‘The First Slam Dunk’ screened this time?
Yes, I watched the cartoon before that and this time I also watched the movie. I had so much fun watching it. Looking at the main character Kang Baek-ho, I saw myself. I used to be a rookie with only good athletic skills, but I grew up meeting a good coach and good teammates. That part seems to be similar.
Do you have any final goals?
I want to be a player who is checked wherever I go. For that, I think I need to practice my outside shots more. It’s not that I can’t shoot, but I wish I could shoot better. 토토사이트