Hoo In-jung’s MB woes deepen, eventually leading to trade announcement

Hoo In-jung’s MB woes deepen, eventually leading to trade announcement

KB Insurance head coach Hoo In-jung has announced that he is looking to add a middle blocker to his roster. It’s an issue that could heat up the offseason.

KB Insurance lost to Woori Card 0-3 (19-25, 19-25, 19-25) in straight sets in the men’s group A preliminary match of the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup Professional Volleyball Tournament at Park Jung-hee Gymnasium in Gumi, South Korea, on Aug. 8. After failing to win a set in their first match against OK Financial Group, KB Insurance didn’t fare any better in this match.스포츠토토

There were several problems. First of all, they failed to manage their errors once again. In fact, they committed 29 errors, three more than they did against OK Financial Group. Shin Seung-hoon, the starting setter, had his ups and downs, and Hwang Kyung-min was also disappointing with a 33.33% attack success rate.

The lack of success from the middle blockers was an integral part of the loss. KB Insurance started the game with the middle blocker combination of Kim Hank-min and Woo Sang-jo, but Woo Sang-jo was held scoreless on the day, and Hank-min only managed two points. Hankmin’s performance was a stark contrast to the 15 points he scored in the previous game as an outside hitter. It was as if he had been forced to wear something that didn’t fit.

The other middle blockers weren’t much better. Kim Hong-jung and Choi Yo-han could only manage two points each. In total, KB’s four middle blockers finished the day with six points, one blocked point, four effective blocks, and six errors. This was compared to the Woori Card duo of Choi Seok-ki and Park Jun-hyuk, who combined for 11 points, 3 blocked shots, and 6 effective blocks.

Coach Hoo In-jung was also aware of the seriousness of the situation. In an interview after the game, he said, “We are in contact with all six clubs to reinforce our middle blockers. There is no other way (besides trade). I think we can reinforce before the season,” he said, in effect publicly declaring that he was pursuing a trade to sign a middle blocker.

While it’s natural for KB Insurance to talk to all six teams, there are only a few teams that have enough middle blocker resources to actually give KB Insurance a middle blocker. Korean Air, with Kim Gyu-min, Kim Min-jae, Lee Soo-hwang, Cho Jae-young, and Jin Ji-wi, or KEPCO, with Park Chan-woong, Shin Young-seok, Cho Geun-ho, Park Chul-woo, Jeong Sung-hwan, and Ahn Woo-jae, are the only teams that can afford middle blockers. The Woori Card, our opponent for the day, also has a large number of middle blockers in Kim Wan-jong, Kim Jae-hwi, Lee Sang-hyun, Park Jun-hyuk, Park Jin-woo, and Choi Seok-ki.

However, the trade is not as easy as it seems. KB Insurance may end up sacrificing players in other positions or rookie draft picks to add more middle blockers. If they don’t negotiate properly, they could end up taking a rock out of a hard place. It’s also unclear if any of the three teams above have the cards KB wants. A trade is all about matching interests, so if the three teams can’t offer KB Insurance the cards they want, the trade won’t happen.

The continued struggles of KB Insurance’s middle blockers eventually led to Hoo’s public announcement of the trade. It will be interesting to see what moves KB will make during the remainder of the Cup and the post-Cup offseason.


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