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Davidson’s Hyunjung Lee is shooting his way to stardom

Lee is lighting up the scoreboard for Davidson this season and just might be the school's best 3-point shooter since Steph Curry.

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament-George Mason vs Davidson
Lee is just the 11th men’s player in Division I history to shoot over 50% from the floor, 40% from 3-point land and 90% from the free throw line in a season.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Many will recall the flashes of brilliance that an under-recruited Steph Curry showed at Davidson, wowing crowds with circus-like shots and deadly precision to carry the Wildcats to three consecutive NCAA Tournament bids and a 2008 Elite Eight appearance.

What many certainly know now is how his story has played out with the two-time NBA MVP going on to make seven all-star appearances and win three NBA championships and is still wowing crowds with the same circus-like shots and deadly precision he had in college.

Who many fans may not know about yet is a 21-year-old named Hyunjung Lee from Yongin City, South Korea, who, similarly to Curry, wasn’t highly recruited out of high school. Lee was a two-star prospect who played his basketball for the NBA’s Global Academy at the Australian Institute of Sport.

As a 6-foot-7 small forward at the Institute, Lee modelled his game after the other half of the Splash Brothers duo, Klay Thompson, and even took an official visit to Thompson’s alma mater Washington State. But it was Curry’s alma mater Davidson and his former coach Bob McKillop that would eventually win Lee over with his commitment making him just the second South Korean native to join a Division-I men’s basketball team.

As a freshman, Lee averaged 8.4 points and finished 11th in the Atlantic-10 in 3-point percentage at 37.7%, good enough for two of the conferences rookie of the week awards and a spot on the A-10 All-Rookie team.

In his sophomore season, Lee continually improved and became the first Wildcat to ever finish a season shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from three and 90% from the line. Lee finished second on the team in scoring and assists and led the A-10 in free throws while finishing second in 3-point percentage.

Lee, now a junior, has taken on more of a leadership role as he and Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer average a combined 32.7 points per game. Lee’s career-high came this season against Charlotte where he managed 32 points and later, in another strong performance, he played a huge part in the 79-78 victory over No. 10 Alabama where he scored 17 and dished three assists.

With Curry widely regarded as one of the best 3-point shooters of all time, maybe even the best, and the best player to come out of Davidson, those around college basketball have taken the opportunity to suggest Lee may be just as lethal a shooter, if not slightly better.

And on some level, the stats support this wild take with Lee being the only Davidson player to finish a season shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from three and 90% on free throws as previously mentioned. Lee’s best single-season 3-point percentage of 44.2%, which came in 2021, is a hair higher than Curry’s career-high of 43.9% from that historic 2008 season (albeit with Curry playing 14 more games).

While the South Korean sharp-shooter certainly has a long way to go to match Curry’s footprint at Davidson, sitting at 10-2 the Wildcats will be as competitive as ever in the A-10 this year with Lee leading the way averaging 17.5 points per game. Picked as an A-10 Preseason All-Conference First Teamer, Lee will be crucial to any continued success Davidson finds throughout the remainder of the season.