The popularity of Heo Woong (30, KCC), the best star in professional basketball, is unlikely to decline.
In 2022, he beat his younger brother Heo Hoon (28, Sangmu), and this year, national team guard Lee Dae-seong (33, Korea Gas Corporation), and took first place in the All-Star fan vote for the second consecutive year. It is the 4th most voted personal record. In particular, when Heo Hoon enlisted in Sangmu, he overwhelmingly took first place. The gap with second place widened from 33,848 votes in 2022 to 46,289 votes this year.
Heo Woong, who recently met at the Gunsan Gymnasium in Jeonbuk, the second home of KCC, said, “I am so happy to be ranked first in the All-Stars for two consecutive seasons.” I am grateful that many people love KCC,” he said. KCC produced four out of the 24 players selected for the All-Star Game: Heo Woong, Lee Seung-hyun, Jeong Chang-young, and La Gun-ah. Most among 10 teams.
This year’s feast of the stars is held at KT Arena in Suwon, the home of younger brother Heo Hoon. Had Hoon not gone to the army, he could have used his home advantage to challenge his older brother’s popularity. But Heo Woong was adamant. He laughed, saying, “Even if (Heo) Hoon was there, I would have taken it easy.”
Instead, the fan service plans to double his brother’s share. Heo Woong said, “I don’t have a younger brother, but I’m looking forward to having a fun All-Star Game with (Lee) Dae-sung, my favorite. I want to make many memories by holding many good events in Suwon.” On the 14th, the day before the All-Star Game, Heo Woong plans to publicize the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace with the players selected in the “Top 10” by fan voting, and on the 15th, during the halftime of the All-Star Game, he plans to perform a special stage with the dance team “HOOK”.
KCC is also laughing at the ‘Heo Woong effect’. KCC has been popular all over the country with its star corps such as Lee Sang-min, Cho Sung-won, and Chu Seung-gyun, but as the ‘Basketball Party Generation’ retired and popularity withered, the marketing effect became insignificant. However, with the recruitment of Heo Woong, he succeeded in rebounding at once. Club products such as uniforms are selling like hot cakes. A KCC official explained, “This season’s product sales have already increased five times compared to the previous season.” Among them, Heoung-related products account for 80% of sales. Popular items include uniforms, dolls, and key rings.
The ‘favorite product’ chosen by Heo Woong is ‘Heo Woong doll’. As soon as it was released, it was sold out. Heo Woong said, “The doll is cute and well made. I like it the most,” he said. “If I show a better appearance in the future, the fans will fill the stadium and buy a lot of Heoung products as well.” He said, “KCC is a club that I have been very attached to since before (because it is a team that my father, CEO Heo Jae Carrot, has been in charge of for a long time). I hope there will be a happy day when the home stadium is full.”
However, the team performance is a bit worrying. Ahead of this season, KCC had Heo Woong and Lee Seung-hyun, the biggest players in the free agent (FA) market at the same time, but hovered in the lower ranks at the beginning of the season and fell to last place at the beginning of last month. However, in the 3rd round (6 wins and 3 losses), it was on the rise, and the 4th round is also cruising with 3 wins and 1 loss. The team ranking also exceeded the 50% win rate 안전놀이터and finished the first half in a tie for 5th place.
At the center was Heo Woong. Heo Woong played an average of 31 minutes and 2 seconds in 31 games, recording 16.5 points, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals. In particular, in the third round, he led KCC’s counterattack by averaging 19.7 points per game. Heo Woong said, “All the players are still not satisfied with the current performance,” and “If you lose one or two games, you can go down. The most important thing is to cherish every game.”
Regarding the secret to the rebound in the 3rd round, he said, “Personally, my physical condition was good from the beginning, but in the 3rd round, the entire team focused more on the game.” At the same time, “Captain (Jeong) Chang-young and his older brother are holding the center well, and foreign players have also played well. (Lee) Seunghyun hyung is reliable just by being himself. Among the best 5 players on the court, I am the youngest, so I play hard like the youngest.”
In the second half, you have to climb higher. He said, “I came to KCC to win. He said, “The first goal is to go to the playoffs with first place in the regular league, and after that, I am a champion.”