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After Name Change, Choi to Compete for Korea

On Friday, Maryland sophomore forward Jin Soo Kim returned home to South Korea to join the Korean national team as it prepares to take part in the upcoming FIBA Asia championships. Except he didn't leave the United States as Jin Soo Kim; he left as Jin Soo Choi.

According to a source close to the player, Jin Soo legally changed his last name to Choi in February, though all of the necessary documents were not completed until late May when he returned to South Korea following the end of Maryland's school year.

Choi's biological father, Uyootak Kim, was a famous basketball player in Korea during his career, and until recently Choi's last name reflected his biological father's heritage. Uyootak Kim was formerly an assistant on the Korean national team, and now has taken a position with a professional team in the region.

But Choi's parents separated when he was an infant, and Choi was raised by his mother and stepfather, Ilsung Choi. According to the source, Jin Soo desired to acknowledge the impact his stepfather has had on his life, which prompted the last name change. Ilsung Choi's basketball background is not extensive (he used to coach a middle school team), but that did nothing to diminish the role he played in Jin Soo's upbringing.

Jin Soo Choi wished to have his name changed prior to the beginning of last season, his first in College Park, but the necessary paperwork could not be completed in time, according to the source. Choi returned to South Korea in late May to finalize the name change by obtaining a new license and filling out a new I-20 form (the document that allows foreign students to receive a visa to attend school in the United States).

There was some initial confusion when Jin Soo Kim (who by then was officially Jin Soo Choi) tried to return to the United States, and a delay caused him to be late for the start of summer school, the source said. But once everything was straightened out, Choi returned and had been attending summer school and working out with his fellow Terrapins ever since.

Now he has returned home once more, where he will compete on the Korean national team in the upcoming FIBA Asia championships. Choi is the only amateur player on a national team that will play Aug. 6-16 in Tianjin, China. Korea is in Group A along with Japan, the Phillipines and Sri Lanka. The top three teams from the tournament will advance to next year's FIBA world championships in Turkey.

Choi joins Maryland senior Greivis Vasquez (Venezuela) as Terrapins who will be representing their home countries in FIBA competitions over the next month.

By Steve Yanda  |  July 13, 2009; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Any chance the name change will elevate his game from terrible to awful?

Posted by: jpfterps | July 13, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

If he were white or black he'd have never gotten a scholarship offer from Maryland. This was affirmative action, plain and simple. The story of the first Korean division I player was nice and all, but the reality was he didn't belong in Division III let alone D I.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Can we rescind the scholarship stating we signed Jin Soo Kim and not Jin Soo Choi? As much as I defend Gary and his recruiting, this one is a stinker.

Posted by: fushezzi | July 13, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey, you can't teach height! Besides, if he goes, we lose our Beatles haircut :(

Posted by: Joran | July 13, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Can we rescind the scholarship stating we signed Jin Soo Kim and not Jin Soo Choi? As much as I defend Gary and his recruiting, this one is a stinker.

Posted by: fushezzi | July 13, 2009 11:14 AM

I don't blame Gary for this one, I blame the athletic dept. No doubt there was pressure to sign Kim. This is the same department that went out of its way to point out the color of skin of Ralph Friedgen's successor. As much as I defend Debbie Yow, there is no denying she is the queen of political correctness. Remember Rock N Roll Part II?

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Barno, where's the proof that Choi was an affirmative action signing? Simply because you believe so?

Here's two lines: pick the 4 Star player.

Min:135 FG:11-39 R:13 TP:32
Min:136 FG:12-42 R:19 TP:34

Line 1 belongs to Duke's Martynas Pocius, a 4-star honky. So I think white kids can play every bit as poorly as Koreans, and that stars next to your name may not necessarily mean sh*t because Juan Dixon didn't have ANY next to his, and he turned out okay.

So give the kid a break.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 13, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"honky?" I haven't heard that word since George Jefferson used it in the 80's.

I believe the hip word now is "cracker"

But, I'm just a suburban white guy so, what do I know?

Maybe Poopy O's Exec can let us know the more hip term in between his drug induced hazes.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I actually like Choi (the player formerly known as Kim). The last time we had a player who changed his name was Brian Williams / Bison Dele. Ok, ok, not a good comparison, but he was our last legit NBA center. All of our other bigs have been 4/3s since in the NBA. Now if Choi goes on to have a career like Mike Grinnon AND actually graduates, it will be a scholarship well spent. Grinnon was supposedly a great practice player and played surprisingly well in the ACC tourney as a senior. Similar player - a self professed shooter at 6'7" whereas I thought Choi/Kim was a bit taller (Barno would know). it took Sarunas a year to get acclimated and he was a pretty good college player as well. I like the expirement. Don't think it costs us as much as a Braxton Dupree. And the kid truly does have a sweet shot from what I have seen. That said, if we get rid of him for a 6'11" or 7' who can move and play with his back to the basket...see ya!!

Posted by: HughGRection | July 13, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

...and what was the name of the hasidic kid from Takoma Park who Gary signed and released? The one who would not have been available for Saturday games but scored like a demon in high school against (in hindsight) sub-par competition. Did he ever do anything at Towson or Loyola once he got there? I know Andre Collins was pretty decent at the school he transferred to; not sure about Hassan Fofana. And yes, Brian Williams was a monster at Arizona...had he not transferred, we might still have had Rudy-gate, but we likely would have kept winning...and Poopy might be bashing Bob Wade instead!

Posted by: HughGRection | July 13, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

..and what was the name of the hasidic kid from Takoma Park who Gary signed and released? The one who would not have been available for Saturday games but scored like a demon in high school against (in hindsight) sub-par competition. Did he ever do anything at Towson or Loyola once he got there?

Posted by: HughGRection | July 13, 2009 1:17 PM

No, he did nothing except try to get the coach fired and then when his attempts failed, he quit the team.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Barno, where's the proof that Choi was an affirmative action signing? Simply because you believe so?

Here's two lines: pick the 4 Star player.

Min:135 FG:11-39 R:13 TP:32
Min:136 FG:12-42 R:19 TP:34

Line 1 belongs to Duke's Martynas Pocius, a 4-star honky. So I think white kids can play every bit as poorly as Koreans, and that stars next to your name may not necessarily mean sh*t because Juan Dixon didn't have ANY next to his, and he turned out okay.

So give the kid a break.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 13, 2009 12:52 PM

Info stupor, we know for a fact that the University of Maryland takes race into heavy consideration in its undergrad admissions, med school, hiring, and faculty promotions. We know for a fact they went out of their way to talk about the race of our next head football coach. And we know for a fact that they went to great lengths to promote the fact that they had the nation's first Division I Korean player.

Do we know for a fact that he wouldn't have been given the scholarship had he been white, black, Hispanic, etc? No, we don't. It' simply my opinion. But for all of the above reasons--and the fact that he can't play worth a lick--I think it's fairly obvious why he's on the roster.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tamir Goodman from Baltimore.

Posted by: Realness1 | July 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

On a side note, I'm Korean and I could never imagine changing my last name to my mother's last name.

Even though they're divorced and I'm closer to my mom, I would still respect tradition and keep my current last name (I'd probably be disowned by my family if changed my name).

Posted by: playahatah | July 13, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if i have ever heard of whites and blacks being slighted by an Asian getting a basketball scholarship. Wow! That's a unique way to look at things. so unique you might be on your own on this one.

there are many Div 1 players that would not actually be stellar players at the Div II or III levels. some coaches just miss evaluate and some players just never develop.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 13, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Another perfect example is the "Jewish Jordan" Tamir Goodman. School officials pushed hard for Gary to sign him, and sign him he did. Only to reportedly have a frank chat with the kid not long thereafter, where Gary was reported to have said "you're not going to play in the ACC games, are you okay with that?" it was shortly thereafter the kid asked to be released from his letter of intent.

So while this may just be my opinion on Kim, there certainly is a long track record at UMD of school officials promoting "diversity" over merit.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Barno, you are an amazing font of knowledge unto yourself:

"... we know for a fact that the University of Maryland takes race into heavy consideration in its undergrad admissions, med school, hiring, and faculty promotions."

Heavy consideration. Proof.

"We know for a fact they went out of their way to talk about the race of our next head football coach."

Because minority hiring in athletics is part of an continuing ongoing national dialogue about race, as we do not yet live in a color-blind society. A whole bunch of people went out of their way to talk about the race of our current President. Nu?

"And we know for a fact that they went to great lengths to promote the fact that they had the nation's first Division I Korean player."

LIVE at the COMCAST CENTER ... JINSOO KIM! Got the poster on my wall. Great lengths?

Proof, barno, proof. Saying it is so doesn't make it. Show proof. Statistics. Redacted memos. Something. ANYTHING.

You can say you think JSC is a crappy player. You can say he's was a waste of a scholarship. But if you're going to come to the table with disturbing accusations about an institution of which I have very fond memories, you better prove them.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 13, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Barno, you are an amazing font of knowledge unto yourself...

...But if you're going to come to the table with disturbing accusations about an institution of which I have very fond memories, you better prove them.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 13, 2009 10:08 PM

http://www.ceousa.org/content/view/346/100/

Racial and Ethnic Preferences at the University of Maryland

Executive Summary:

• Black applicants are given a massive degree of preference over their
white, Hispanic, and Asian counterparts.

• Hispanics, Asians, and whites are admitted with roughly the same MCAT scores.
Hispanic and white science GPAs are roughly the same, while science GPAs for
Asian admittees are slightly lower.

• University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSM) generally admits blacks with much lower test scores and science GPAs as
compared with whites, Hispanics, and Asians. In 1996 and 1999, 75 percent of
blacks were admitted with test scores lower than roughly 75 percent of all white
and Hispanic admittees. In those years, the median science GPA for black
admittees was lower than the science GPA for 75 percent of Hispanics and whites
admitted by UMSM. Seventy-five percent of blacks were admitted by UMSM
with lower scores than half the Asians admitted in 1996, while 75 percent of
blacks were admitted with lower scores than 75 percent of Asians admitted in
1999.

• The relative odds of admission of a black over a white applicant were 61.5 to 1 in
1996, 35.9 to 1 in 1997, 40.7 to 1 in 1998, and 20.6 to 1 in 1999.

• The odds ratios translate into massive preferences favoring blacks over other
groups. For example, in 1996, the probability of admission for a black applicant
with a total MCAT score of 45 and a science GPA of 3.5 was 97 percent—
roughly three times the probability of a similarly qualified white, Asian, or
Hispanic. The probability of admission for a white applicant with the same
credentials was 33 percent; for an Asian, 28 percent; and for a Hispanic, 37
percent. For 1999, the probability of admission of a black applicant with a total
MCAT score of 45 and a science GPA of 3.5 was 90 percent, as compared to 31
percent for a similar white applicant, 23 percent for an Asian applicant, and 53
percent for a Hispanic applicant. These statistics control for sex, residency, and
whether the person had a parent graduating from UMSM.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

http://www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/2QQ.HTM

"Already since 1994 two federal circuits have struck down university preferential policies--racially reserved scholarships at the University of Maryland"

http://www.ceousa.org/content/view/343/100/

Preferences in Maryland Higher Ed

http://www.adversity.net/education_2_maryland.htm

"At the University of Maryland, College Park, the median white enrollee has a composite SAT score of 1220, 170 points higher than the black median composite score of 1050."

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Heavy consideration. Proof.

Proof, barno, proof. Saying it is so doesn't make it. Show proof. Statistics. Redacted memos. Something. ANYTHING.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 13, 2009 10:08 PM

Are you really this naive about your alma mater--which happens to be one of the most liberal state schools in one of the most liberal states in the country?

I too am extremely fond of UMD, And even as a staunch opponent of racial quotas I don't think this takes away very much from the school by and large. And as a Hispanic, I know first hand about a UMD preference program which arbitrarily admits students with Spanish surnames and places them into remedial English classes, regardless of GPA in high school honors and AP English. The sad fact is had the University actually read my application essay, they would have known A) I was not disadvantaged in any way; and B) I did not need remedial English classes. But because the box I checked was "Hispanic" and perhaps because of my middle name, none of that mattered.

The fact is, UMD's administration is morally bankrupt on racial issues. But hey, that's okay because they mean well right? Their affirmative action policies are well intended--so regardless of the outcome it's no big deal, right? If black or Hispanic drop-out rates are disturbingly high at UMD, it's not the school's fault for accepting them into an institution in which they weren't academically prepared, right?

Wrong.

The problem with racial and ethnic preferences in higher ed at UMD and elsewhere is that these policies do absolutely nothing to close the skills gap--which is the real problem facing minorities.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 13, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I think that Choi will surprise a lot of people this year. I think it would have been wiser for Gary to redshirt him last year but with some more bulk and international experience I think he will be a contributor. All we can do is wait and see...

Posted by: jamesorban | July 13, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

you can't teach height! Besides, if he goes, we lose our Beatles haircut

http://www.nowgoal.com/30.shtml

Posted by: fetrew | July 14, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

If we've learned anything boys and girls it is not to ask Barno for proof. He most likely has it and it is most likely three pages long.

Can't we just stick with Ralph Wiggum quotes and making fun of Carolina1?

Posted by: fushezzi | July 14, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

not sure about Hassan Fofana. And yes, Brian Williams was a monster at Arizona.
http://www.nowgoal.com/30.shtml

Posted by: fetrew | July 14, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Barno,

I'm impressed, you sure did provide the proof that info_stuporhighway was asking for.

These conversations become uncomfortable in this day and age because one can be called a bigot very quickly, especially if you sit on the side of the aisle that I sit.

As witnessed, by dumbass Poopy O's Exec comments about my joke of being Republican and an earlier comment I made about the color of VT and Carolina's uniforms.

No matter what side of the aisle you are on Barno good luck fighting the good fight here but, don't be surprised if you are called a Bigot or a Racist.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

They can call me what they want, but it's pretty hard to make a convincing argument that the ones who are against discrimination are the ones who are the bigots.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 14, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Forget Maryland...when I grow up I'm going to Bovine University.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 14, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I bent my Wookie

Posted by: fushezzi | July 14, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm not calling Barno a racist; PLENTY of people of various ethnic backgrounds disagree on affirmative action. I am among them. But asking CEOUSA - a conservative organization - whether they can spot a pattern of racial inequity in college admissions is about as helpful as asking the NRA's opinion on the constitutionality of gun control laws. What, exactly, did you expect them to say?

To get back to the original issue: with scholarships at a premium and recruiting stakes higher than ever, WHO in Dr. Mote's cadre of arm-twisters made GW sign Jinsoo Choi simply because he was Korean?

I was going to lob a "honky" at Barno, but now I have to think of something else. Gimme a minute.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 14, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

You can lob honkey, cracker or whatever else you want but Barno isn't exactly white. He's a concoction of many things on top of being a diehard Terps fan.

On another note, I don't think we're attacking Choi b/c he's Korean so there's no need for a race war. The argument is, after watching him play basketball, the only reasoning for offering this guy a scholarship is b/c he's Korean b/c he's definitely not a D1 Basketball player.

Posted by: fushezzi | July 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | July 13, 2009 3:03 AM

Forget Maryland...when I grow up I'm going to Bovine University.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 14, 2009 10:33 AM
=========================

Ooops, day late, dollar short barno.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | July 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

As witnessed, by dumbass Poopy comments about my joke of being Republican and an earlier comment I made about the color of VT and Carolina's uniforms.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 9:56 AM

Those were your words pal, not mine. You're the one who admittedly uses color as away of determining what to like and what not to like. Mommy must be so proud of her little section3205304303.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | July 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

But asking CEOUSA - a conservative organization - whether they can spot a pattern of racial inequity in college admissions is about as helpful as asking the NRA's opinion on the constitutionality of gun control laws. What, exactly, did you expect them to say?

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 14, 2009 12:56 PM

So you are saying statistics can't be trusted if they come from a conservative organization?

That's quite a counter-argument you've come up with. Since you can't argue with the methodology used by CEO's statisticians, you can't argue with the numbers themselves since they came directly from the University through Freedom of Information requests, and you can't dispute any part of the data as being inaccurate--you instead chose to dismiss the findings entirely simply because the messenger happens to be conservative.

I hope you're not a lawyer. You'd find it impossible proving any case with that kind of reasonless logic.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

...But if you're going to come to the table with disturbing accusations about an institution of which I have very fond memories, you better prove them.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 13, 2009 10:08 PM

But asking CEOUSA - a conservative organization - whether they can spot a pattern of racial inequity in college admissions...

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | July 14, 2009 12:56 PM

Since you're real big on the burden of proof, then let me know when you find anything disputing CEO's stats on UMD. If any of those numbers were inaccurate, you'd see them disputed in a peer review, by reporters, by the university itself, etc. Let me know when you find that sort or thing...

Posted by: Barno1 | July 14, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

So by your drug induced logic Poopy O's Exec, making fun of a teams uniform colors is the same thing as racial discrimination.

Maybe I should add Nancy Pelosi to my list of nicknames for you.

I see you continue to use the mind altering substances that you so often brag about.

Your parents must be so proud of you, or are they doing them with you?

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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