Bilal Razzak ’25 (He/Him), Sports Writer
As the 2021 year and fall sports start to wrap up, Davidson’s winter sports look to start their campaigns. As one of Davidson’s prized gems, the basketball team is gearing up for yet another successful season. However, with the departure of Kellan Grady—one of Davidson’s star players—to the University of Kentucky, junior prodigy Hyun-Jung Lee ‘23 looks to move into more of a leadership role.
Growing up in South Korea, Lee comes from a basketball family. His mother, Sung Jung-a, won a silver medal, representing South Korea in the 1984 olympics. Furthermore, both his father and sister are extremely accomplished players in their own right. However, Lee is only the fourth player from South Korea to play NCAA Division 1 basketball.
While Lee comes from an accomplished family, he has had no trouble making a name for himself: quickly establishing himself as one of the most pivotal players on the team, perhaps even one in the program’s long history.
As a freshman, Lee shined. Boasting an Atlantic-10 All Rookie Selection, it was clear from the start that Lee had an extremely bright future ahead of him. Appearing in 28 total games, Lee recorded his first-ever double-double in Wildcats’ win against Coppin State, racking up 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the COVID outbreak, Lee only improved. In his sophomore year, Lee started in all 22 games. He led the team in three-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage; he finished second in both scoring and assists. However, despite all this, he reached an even greater milestone: becoming the first Wildcat to average 50% from the field (99-195), 40% from the three point line (53-120), and 90% at the free throw line within a season. He was only the 11th NCAA Division 1 basketball player to do this since 1992—a career-defining moment so far.
However, while Lee’s basketball accolades are impressive, his most admirable trait is his attitude towards the next season. When asked about his A-10 First Team Preseason Selection, Lee said, “It’s a big honor, but it’s also big motivation. Now, I have to prove that I am a first team player.” Lee’s comments highlighted not only his humble side, but also the importance he places on working and improving. Furthermore, when asked about his new role as a leader, Lee remarked on both the challenges and the highlights: “My freshman year and my sophomore year we had Kellan [Grady ‘21] and other great leaders, so I didn’t really have to be a leader. Right now, as an upperclassmen, I know the system very well; we also have a bunch of new guys coming in. Also, as a foreigner, sometimes it’s hard to communicate well, but I’m still trying to do my best. We also have a lot of international guys. So, as a team, I think we’re improving and our communication is going well so far, both on and off the court.” Once again, Lee’s comments highlight his maturity, approaching team leadership in a realistic yet hopeful manner.
When asked about his goals for next season, Lee was quick to point out March Madness. As a team, it’s extremely important that they all work together to reach this goal.
Currently, Lee is projected to go either late first-round or early second-round in the NBA draft. However, as he pointed out, much of that is subject to change based on what happens this junior season. In this way, Lee pointed out the importance of focusing on the here and now: “All my focus right now is on Davidson basketball. Here and now, I’m trying to get this team right, helping them make it to March Madness. That’s my only focus right now.”