22 - 31
July 2016
6 Junghyun Lee (KOR)
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Korea's Lee: "We want to beat China again"

SEOUL (2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - Lee Junghyun has helped Korea beat China two years in a row and now the guard is hoping to repeat the feat at the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship and capture the country's first title since 2000.

Lee scored 25 points as Korea knocked off Asian powers China 75-70 in the Round of 16 at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship. That victory came after the Koreans knocked off China 90-84 in the Semi-Finals of the 2015 FIBA Asia U16 Championship, ending China's streak of three straight U16 titles and propelling them to their first U16 continental title. 

Korea's win over China in Zaragoza pushed them into the Quarter-Finals of the biennial global spectacle for the first time. 

"Our goal was the Quarter-Finals, so we were very happy about that," said Lee, who led Korea in scoring with 18.9 points while also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists in Spain. "We entered the Quarters for the first time. We had hoped to take seventh, but we failed. I was kind of sad about that."

The Koreans lost to United States in the final eight and then dropped 5-8 Classification games to France and Australia to finish the tournament in eighth place with three victories - two more than the Asians had collected total in their two previous U17 Worlds appearances. 

Lee expects to take the lessons he learned from playing strong nations such as the United States, France and Australia and apply them to his game at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship. 

"Our team wants to win the (FIBA Asia U18) title again. This would be a great victory." - Lee

"I really learned a lot. It was hard playing against those players and teams," said Lee, who will be joined at the FIBA Asia U18 tournament by U17 teammates Shin Minsuk and Yang Jae Min.

The goal in Tehran, where Korea are drawn into Group B with hosts Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Lebanon, is clear for Lee. 

"Our team wants to win the title again," Lee said. "This would be a great victory."

Lee knows that China will be tough as the three-time undefeated reigning champions. Korea lost to China in the FIBA Asia U18 final in 2010 and 2012 and then took third place in 2014.  

"It will be difficult, but we did it last year and here. So we can do it again," Lee said matter-of-factly. 

Korea have chipped away at China's dominance at two levels within eight months. The question coming into the FIBA Asia U18 Championship is can the Koreans do it again.