Re-signing Gage Prim (205 cm, C) is important for the Hyundai Mobis for a number of reasons.
The Ulsan Hyundai Mobis exceeded expectations in the 2022-2023 season. There are several reasons for this. First, new head coach Cho Dong-hyun, who knew the team well, played basketball that suited the players’ characteristics, and the “99s” – Signing Jin (189 cm, G), Lee Woo-seok (196 cm, G), and Ronjay Avarientos (181 cm, G) – did their part.
However, without foreign players, no team can perform well. The same was true for Hyundai Mobis. Gage Prim (205 cm, C) has been more than up to the task, and his dominance under the basket has helped the Hyundai Mobis to a fourth-place finish in the regular season and a playoff berth.
Prim was initially classified as a second-option foreign player. He had the strength, transition, and mobility, but was criticized for being dull and lacking in detail. In practice games and cup competitions after joining the KBL, he became too competitive and negatively impacted the team’s atmosphere.
However, after the injury to Justin Knox (204 cm, F), the team’s first option foreign player, Prim made his presence felt on the court. With more time on the court, he learned his role. His 18.7 points, 10.7 rebounds (3.9 offensive), 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals in 27 minutes and 18 seconds per game made him the top foreign player in the KBL.
However, Prim’s partners in Ham Ji-hoon 메이저사이트(198 cm, F) and Jang Jae-seok (202 cm, C) were injured in the second half of the season. He battled back in the playoffs, but he wasn’t at his best. In addition, another partner, Choi Jin-soo (202cm, F), injured his ankle in the fourth game of the best-of-six playoffs. Due to this series of injuries to Korean big men, both Hyundai Mobis and Prim did not perform well in the playoffs.
As a result, Hyundai Mobis has thickened its big man lineup in the free agency (FA) market. They re-signed existing big men Ham Ji-hoon, Choi Jin-soo, and Kim Hyun-min (198 cm, F), and added Kim Jun-il (200 cm, C) from Changwon LG. The team will have a wider variety of Korean big men for the 2023-2024 season than before.
With more domestic big men, Hyundai Mobis will be able to envision different types of foreign players. “Previously, we only looked at big men, but this time we’re looking at resources that can handle the ball,” said Hyundai Mobis head coach Cho Dong-hyun, referring to foreign players.
However, there is a prerequisite. Prim has to stay with Hyundai Mobis. Hyundai Mobis head coach Cho Dong-hyun also considers the retention of Prim as key, saying, “We have a foreign player who can dominate under the goal like Prim, so we are thinking about other types of foreign players as well.”
“Last season, we only saw her post-ups and fast breaks, but this season, we want to give her more options after two-on-two, and that’s something we’ve been talking about with her,” he said. He also wants to support Prim’s development.
Hyundai Mobis wants to hold onto Prim. What matters is Prim’s will. If Prim stays with Hyundai Mobis, the hopes and conditions mentioned above can be realized. Prim’s performance next season is the next question.
In the meantime, the KBL states that “clubs wishing to re-sign a foreign player from the previous season must notify them by 5 p.m. on May 31.” This means that Hyundai Mobis and Prim have until May 31 at 5 p.m. to re-sign. That’s when we’ll know if Hyundai Mobis and Prime will be together.