DB Kim Ju-sung (44) was known for his clever and meticulous play during his career. Despite his height of 205 centimeters, he made a name for himself as an all-around player in the defense with his excellent under-goal positioning and accurate passing. His screen (a technique that interrupts the opposing defender’s movement to open up an attacking lane) was a fine line between foul and beauty, and many pointed out that his attention to detail made him a great player. He played 16 seasons as a 텍사스홀덤 DB and has three championship rings on his finger.

Kim has been the DB coach since 2020 after retiring from active duty in 2019 and attending coaching training in the United States. He was appointed as the acting head coach after his predecessor, Lee Sang-beom (54), resigned midway through last season due to poor performance, and became the full-time head coach this season. He went 11-14 during his time as acting coach, but a seven-game winning streak at the start of the season propelled DB to sole possession of first place. They swept KCC and KT, both of whom are favorites to win the title. Offensive metrics improved, with the team ranking first in the league in points per game (95.0) and first in three-point field goal percentage (42.3%). Last season, they ranked eighth and last, respectively. With the exception of one foreign player (Dedrick Lawson-26), the team’s roster remained the same, but the key to their vertical rise from seventh place is Kim’s ability to translate the details of his playing days into leadership.

Through meticulous video analysis, Kim gives “detailed” instructions on how to handle each situation. “It helps a lot because he carefully points out the timing of passes and the position under the goal,” said captain Kang Sang-jae, 29. It’s like ‘tweezers tutoring’. “We play different lineups depending on the opponent,” said basketball commentator Lee Sang-yoon. On days when the opponent’s main player is a guard, Kim Young-hyun (32), who excels in perimeter defense, starts, for example, shooting guard Park In-woong (23) to focus on three-point shooting, and forward Choi Seung-wook (30) for games that involve battles under the basket. “Under the previous coach, it was difficult to harmonize the players because of the overlapping positions,” said commentator Son Dae-beom. “He seems to have set up the positions and offensive roles in detail.”

He’s also very good at controlling the morale of the team and keeping them calm. Overcoming a 19-point deficit in the last five games has had that effect. “We try not to think about it, it’s just one game,” Kim said of the early lead, “and we emphasize that every opponent is better than us.”