Signing Ilyasova to help him get to the NBA
South Korean basketball standout Lee Hyun-joong (23, pictured) will play in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL). This is the first time a South Korean player has played in the NBL. “We have signed Korean ‘sharp shooter’ Lee Hyun-jung to a three-year contract,” the NBL’s Illyria announced on its website on Nov. 11. Despite joining the organization, Lee hasn’t given up on his dream of playing in the NBA. “I’m happy to be a part of Illyria for the next three seasons,” he said, adding, “The team has earned the respect (of players) by developing players who want to play internationally or in the NBA. This was a big factor in my decision.” According to Lee’s representatives, Iliwara will help him make the transition to the NBA if an NBA team offers him a contract.
Lee tried out for the NBA through the rookie draft last year as a junior at Davidson College in the United States, but was not selected. He averaged 5.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 12 games for Santa Cruz of the G League, the NBA’s lower division, in the 2022-2023 season, and recently played in a Summer League game for Philadelphia.
The NBL is generally considered to be of a higher caliber than the Asian professional basketball leagues. Young prospects often choose to play in the NBL to gain professional experience before making the jump to the NBA. NBA Charlotte guard LaMelo Ball, 22, was selected by Charlotte with the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft after playing one season with Illyria in the 2019-2020 season. A J Johnson (19), a guard from the University of Southern California who is expected to be the first pick in next year’s NBA Draft, also opted to play for Ilawarra instead of continuing his college career in the United States. 고스톱Illawarra finished last among the 10 teams with a 3-25 record in 28 games last season.