In the 2023-2024 season, Goyang Sono, a professional basketball team, is classified as the weakest along with Samsung in Seoul and Korea Gas Corporation in Daegu. This is because Day One Sports, the operator of the predecessor Goyang Carrot, did not provide salaries to the players on time and delayed payment of membership fees to the Professional Basketball League 스포츠토토(KBL), causing them to experience unprecedented financial difficulties and not having enough time to reorganize the team. In particular, it was painful to fail to renew the contract with Didrick Lawson, who was a key player, and give him up to Wonju DB.
Coach Kim Seung-gi of Sono expressed his disappointment ahead of the home game against SK in Seoul on the 24th, saying, “If possible, don’t talk about DB.” Director Kim expressed that it was not easy to fill the position left by Lawson.
Lawson ranked third in scoring last season with an average of 18.7 points. In addition, he led the team on both offense and defense with 9.5 rebounds (7th), 3.3 assists (11th), 1.2 steals (9th), and 1.1 blocks (2nd).
Sono recruited Jarrod Jones from Suwon KT to fill Lawson’s void. Jones scored 18.1 points (6th place) last season and played a sufficient role as KT’s first offensive option. However, he only has an advantage over Lawson by 3 points (2.4 points, 4th place) and lags behind in most indicators.
Lawson’s performance in the away game against Sono on the 22nd, when he stabbed his former team, made Coach Kim even more sad. Lawson posted a triple-double record with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists in the game.
Coach Kim said, “We were lucky that the DB was taken in when our team was in an abnormal situation.” Lawson expressed regret that he had not yet received two months of overdue salary during his time at Goyang Carrot and ultimately chose to go to DB.
Coach Kim urged the players who have become accustomed to playing basketball with Lawson to wake up from now on. Lawson is excellent at scoring goals and fighting under the goal, as well as making quality passes to players in the corner. Coach Kim said, “I emphasize to the players that they are playing with Jones, not Lawson, and tell them to move one step further so they can receive passes, but that doesn’t work.”
Sono lost 79-90 in the game against SK that day due to a lack of backbone, and suffered two consecutive losses. Coach Kim said after the game, “This is the only way we can do it. “We recruited Kim Min-wook under the assumption that Lawson was available, but the defense is not good and the offense is also having difficulties,” he said, pointing out the loss.
It seems that Lawson’s position will eventually have to be filled by KBL’s representative 3-point shooter Jeon Seong-hyun and Lee Jeong-hyun, who has grown into a national player. Sono will invite Ulsan Hyundai Mobis to its home on the 29th and aim for its first win of the season.