S. Korean basketball academy eyes Saipan expansion

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Posted on May 24 2022
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All That Basket Basketball Academy CEO Oh Se Ho, rightmost, poses with his family after meeting with 670 Rollers Elite Basketball Club founder and head coach Joe Diaz, second right, and his coaching staff at Shirley’s Coffee Shop in Susupe. (MARK RABAGO)

A basketball academy based in Gangnam, South Korea wants to expand to Saipan by building a state-of-the-art basketball training facility on the island.

All That Basket Basketball Academy CEO Oh Se Ho, who is on island with his family, last week met with 670 Rollers Elite Basketball Club founder and head coach Joe Diaz for exploratory talks on his plans of setting up shop in the CNMI.

“I am trying to create an international basketball organization. Not only some elite players, but all students who love basketball to have the opportunity to participate in international competitions and if they experience it, I think it will be of great help in their lives,” said Oh.

The ATB founder said that his academy is fortunate to partner with Diaz and his 670 Rollers Elite Basketball Club for their expansion plans in the Commonwealth.

“I think 670 Rollers Elite is a good partner to start with. They have a good attitude, a sense of challenge, and maintain a lot of networks.”

Oh shared that he started ATB because his wife, former Korean national women’s basketball player Kim Kyung-Hee, has a passion for the sport and he also wants their children—Seon-Woo, Yeon-Woo, and Eun-woo—to share their mother’s love for basketball.

“In the beginning, my wife retired from the national basketball team and was teaching the children. It was my first experience teaching basketball to my children because I was tired [helping her] during [the] pregnancy. At that time, I was a general salesperson in charge of the planning part of a construction company,” he said.

From there, Oh said his vision for the then fledgling ATB expanded to what is now a 4,000-player strong basketball academy.

“What I started as a business is to develop the world for the better with the basketball academy as an opportunity. We want to let the general public and students experience the world [that is] experienced by elite sportsmen. We have a system suitable for that and we are developing it,” he added.

Oh said also shared his long-term plans in his expansion to the island that includes the building of the aforementioned basketball training facility.

“We plan to build a large-scale, state-of-the-art facility to collect Saipan basketball [talent] in one place. Sports advances through competition. To compete, there must be a lot of people who love basketball, and to do that, you need a suitable
facility.”

With the basketball training facility in place, Oh then plans to improve the state of basketball in the U.S. territory with the help of ATB’s high-level coaches and trainers.
Oh added that Saipan’s tropical climate seems to jive with the locals’ love for basketball.

“I felt the passion the most. Saipan is a hot country. The community has a passion for basketball that matches it.”

Unlike South Korea where basketball training is more systematic, Oh noticed that there’s more autonomy in the way learning basketball on Saipan.

“Do-it-yourself basketball can be a little more creative. It’s different from Korean basketball, which is systematic and has a fixed rotation. It is expected that the two countries can develop each other’s basketball [culture] through these exchanges.”

Diaz, for his part, welcomes Oh and ABT’s plan to expand to Saipan and said he and his organization will help them fulfil their plans to branch out of South Korea. Aside from the 670 Rollers Elite Basketball Club founder and head coach, Oh also met with the club’s coaches Marlene Lumabi and Leo Naraja. Oh was accompanied in the meeting by his local liaison, James

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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