Born in South Korea, Lee grew up in a basketball family. His mother won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, while his father played semi-professionally and later became a coach. Lee started playing at a young age and went on to become one of the best players in the country.
Despite being much larger than the competition at home, Lee wanted to challenge himself and see if he could succeed at a higher level. After excelling at some NBA organized camps in Asia Pacific, Lee was invited to the NBA Academy.
There, Lee developed on and off the court. He was forced to learn a different language and adapt to a different style of basketball. But it was something Lee wanted and knew he needed to play at the next level.
“I think that decision really put him on a great path,” Ebersole said. “To train under Clarke we all think Marty is one of the best in the business in terms of player development, especially at this age group. But then also Bob McKillop at Davidson and being with him for three seasons. You can see the impact the coaching had on him.”
Lee developed this practice at the NBA Academy and applied it to over 20 Division I offerings across the United States. He eventually ended up at Davidson and improved each season with the Wildcats under McKillop’s management.
He burst onto the scene as a sophomore last year.
Lee averaged 13.5 points, four rebounds and 2.5 assists in 22 games. He shot 50.8% from the field, 44.2% from 3-point range, and 90% from the free throw line, becoming the 11th Division I player to reach 50-40-90 in a season.
“He’s always been a great shot and we knew that from day one with Lee,” said Ebersole. “It was about if he could translate the shooting that he would do in drills and drills. Could he implement it in games at a pretty high level when he’s up against really high-level athletes? I think he definitely proved that, especially last season and the season before that when he was a 50-40-90 guy. It’s quite remarkable to be one of the few players in history (to achieve that).
Hyunjung Lee (@hylee_1023) joined the elusive 50/40/90 club during his sophomore season @DavidsonMBB and believes his shooting will help him become only the second Korean to ever play in the NBA.#GoldOnTheClock pic.twitter.com/hIx0Y65BWp
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 14, 2022
Last season at Davidson, Lee was put in a situation where he needed to develop his game. He worked more on firing his shot in a variety of ways and becoming more than just a catch-and-shoot player. He’s also improved defensively, which ultimately will determine if he makes it onto the NBA court.
Lee measured 6ft, 8″ with a wingspan of 6ft 9 at the NBA G League Elite Camp last month. He is a good position size and developed into a standout during on court practice there, where he was spot- Up-shooting practice was a leader.
The 21-year-old is only scratching the surface of his potential. He’s worked with at least six teams during the preliminary design process and is hungry to get his country on the map.
He could turn out to be a player to watch in the future.
“The improvements he made were something that I don’t think a lot of people talked about that much,” Ebersole said. “The hardness with which he plays. I think for him he has a really good shot at staying in the NBA if he’s able to be a viable defender and if you combine that with what his shooting can mean on offense.”