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Thread: The biggest disappointments of Turkish Basketball

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    Default The biggest disappointments of Turkish Basketball

    I covered the biggest disappointments of Turkish basketball through the way of selecting one player from every generation over the range of ’86-’96.

    Hakan Demirel (’86): Easy choice from this generation. He hasn’t made no progress throughout the years, yet he had been a great facilitator PG during youth tournaments. You can still find all those hypes on him on the Internet, where he was touted as one of the guys with the combination of the highest basketball IQ and greatest court vision that European Basketball has ever witnessed. It may sound so funny under present condition, however he seemed a great talent to everyone interested in U-level basketball in those times. His NCAA decision at the most productive epoch of him was totally disaster, he couldn’t have played there due to the professionalism rules and starting from that time, his career has showed tendency towards bottom where it completely belongs to now. Of course his career that fell short of mark can’t be only linked with this decision, but also lack of professionalism and sedulity which are the answers of the question why he hasn’t improved his shooting percentage even a little bit in progress of time. From NBA projections on him to being bench player in Uşak Sportif. Must be a sad story for him.

    Cenk Akyol (’87): All-around scorer of the legendary U-teams, another guy who is swiftly disappearing from sight. After a relatively good season in Beşiktaş last year, signed with Acıbadem this season which signs that he decided to be one of those guys who are active retired players who concern their pockets more than their careers. When he was drafted, one would expect him to play there basing upon his potential, however it didn’t happen, mostly because of the fact that he couldn’t transform his game into senior level successfully. Still, he has a better career in comparison to other ‘disappointment league’ members, but when you look at overall situation, he is far from the line where he was thought to be on. Instead improving his game, he decided to be a overweighted spot-up shooter with limited mobility. In that manner it can be said that he managed to be successful under that profession, however was it enough for him that will always remain as a question mark, since it can be said he was a better athletic and skilled player in terms of swingman professions at the age 20, let’s say.

    Barış Hersek (’88): In that time when he firstly showed himself, he was a promising tweener who is playing two positions successfully at that level. Solid ball handling (Yes, ball handling and Hersek), acceptable perimeter shooting, tough defense and good feeling on the boards. So much potential was there. In the first professional seasons in Efes, when he started to play in senior level, his arsenal didn’t seem suit for SF position because according as the level rises, he started to struggle, as he was not a pure SF to shoulder all the tasks that were given to him in Euroleague-level team. His most productive season was in Karşıyaka, where he was utilized properly as a real PF, his tangible-intangible, visible-invisible contribution was key of success for Karşıyaka. Now we all see, he is shaking towels on bench so nicely in Fenerbahçe, the dude is a living dead in terms of basketball. I don’t think he is lazy, but still can’t figure out why he has been the part of a team he doesn’t take any kind of responsibility.

    Doğuş Balbay (’89): Turkish ’89 generation may be the least fruitful one in Turkish basketball history. So many garbage players had been the part of this generation actively, who are filling the side roles of teams in second division right now. Among those players, Balbay was the glittering talent. Not sure if he was really talented or he seemed to us like that because he was covered with bunch of untalented guys who even made Balbay looking like a real prospect. I will stick to former theory because I still think he is such a valuable player in a right system where he is taking sufficient playing time under proper tasks. The thing with him is that he didn’t make no headway just like Demirel, didn’t rely on his deficiencies, always resorted to confine himself to what he has gotten. He could have been a completely different player, had he shot more consistently instead throwing bricks to board which limits him against serious opponents. While we are projecting on a player, we held to an assumption that the player will improve himself one way or another, when it doesn’t happen like in Balbay case, he is being far from meeting the expectations.

    İzzet Türkyılmaz (’90): One of the most intriguing talents of Turkish basketball. Taller than a 7 footer, playing like a true swingman. That’s what we all had heard about him when he firstly stepped on the court as a senior. The strange side of his career, he has never been a guy who came into prominence under any level of NT jersey. He didn’t have the typical hyping that we are doing on certain players when they excite us, however he still managed to be drafted by Nuggets, just because of the foresight Nuggets staff has about him. They reckoned on his so-called potential which rarely shows itself up. Inconsistency combined with wrong career decisions bring out a career which continues in Sibenik right now. He actually has had enough chances to level up until now, unfortunately he couldn’t put all those chances to good use. What we can say, another wasted talent. I haven’t still seen any player in youth setups with that kind of basketball style yet though. If this project kid would be successful, he may be the most interesting player of this decade. Poor man’s Fucka.

    Can Maxim Mutaf (’91): Quality sharp shooter, gave such Kutluayesque performances in some games in youth tournaments that was enough to spot the lights on himself. I still remember the great show from him against Croatian U20 in Turgut Atakol Tournament, he shot like 12/13 or 13/14 3PTs. Mutaf has variations of 3PTs shots in his arsenal (Off the dribble, catch and shoot, spot up and etc), ambitious character and solid defense, that’s we all say ‘Wow, the guy is coming fast and furious’. He was the credible guy in the eyes of scouts, nobody regarded an unsuccessful career as possible. But the thing regarded as impossible, unfortunately happened one more time in the bounds of Turkish basketball. He is another talent who had suffered from the senior level transformation period. He basicly didn’t take sufficient responsibility in Fener, did a good job in Banvit, however moving Istanbul one more time seems as a bad choice. So much fluctuation for a career, sad that he couldn’t even have been a regular NT contributor.

    Şafak Edge (’92): I played against him during the highschool tournament and saw his skills up the closest way. I haven’t played against someone who is fast and agile like him and creates his own shots by many creative techniques. He was superb talented really. Anyway, putting aside this short memory, he suits the definition of scorer PG. He hasn’t been a great facilitator in that position, however he has always been so good at scoring one way or another. Pesic while coaching Zvezda, wanted to work with him, however the sweet face of money showed itself to him and he decided to stay in Banvit. Due to the physical drawbacks, never ever been thought as SG, if he would be 10 cm taller, we would have been talking about a completely different story on him. Contrary to current situation, he was standing out with his leader character, I don’t know how many times he saved skin of his teams in U-times. When he starts knocking down those contested shots which are favored by him, it is hard to stop him. His performance completely depends on his momentum, maybe just another reason why he has failed due to inconsistency (The key word of this post). It is sad to see him rotting on bench whole season. Okay, he is far from the elite level but still can be a solid acquisition for average teams who can live and die with his extraordinary daily performances.

    Berkay Candan (’93): One more PF, who was highly banked on by the authorities. We are lacking depth in that position so it is natural that any player with notable potential regarded as worth to follow. Candan was a scorer combo forward, who has versatility on offense even if he doesn’t have elite perimeter shooting touch. Back in the old days, he didn’t have any difficulty with his toughness deficiency that we see in him now. His body was open to development with amazing wingspan, however he didn’t improve that aspect and remained as a soft guy who has so much troubles against physical forwards. He could be the major force for the NT at least, although he has shown some living indications some seasons, he couldn’t have maintained his performance and couldn’t level up. His first season in Fener was so crucial, he didn’t turn this chance to good. Few wasted seasons at his peak caused a disappointing career overall so far.

    Tayfun Erülkü (’94): Phenomenal youth tournament combo guard Erülkü who has a great scoring instinct. Great use of both hands, conscious drives to basket and nice catch n shots were the signature skills of him. He was not a pass-first guard but a pure scorer, he was able to take the helms when is needed. I have really liked his game in real terms, always casted a role to him under NT jersey with an eye to his potential for the future. The aggressive scorer didn’t show up his determined moves in many occasions at reasonable level. He failed and failed when he got the awaited chances. He has never been thought as a NBA material, however should have been in a better situation than now. He is not taking any responsibility in Büyükçekmece, quite a weird role for a player who is claimed having a leader character. Hopefully, he will gain ground in the future, I still have a little bit faith in him.

    Kenan Sipahi (’95): I can make a separate list for ’95 generation, but among them, Sipahi is the most obvious one who leaves us disappointed. He was seen as a first Turkish PG who would make NBA. He thrilled us with great performances both in senior and U-level. He was playing for Tofaş when he was just 16 years old in 2011. He is supposed to be an extremely experienced player on court already, however all those basic turnovers, hiding away from responsibility during the game, terrible shooting performances and selections show that he is not enough mature contrary to the responsibilities that have been given to him since his boyhood. It is safe to say that he was much better player than now 3 or 4 years ago. At least, he had self-confidence back on those days. Except his successful Karşıyaka season, you can’t name the second season of him where his performance may be regarded successful. Totally shame, he should have rocked NBA looking at our opinions on him in the past. Can he leap forward as there have been a lot of players in the history who were in the same condition with him? Of course he can, but work ethics is playing a great role on this possibility that I think he lacks some.

    Ayberk Olmaz (’96): New Ömer Aşık for someone who is living in the fool’s paradise. He started to play basketball too late than his peers (at the age of 14 or 15?) just like Aşık, however displayed a great improvement. It is said he is a fast learner and some coaches claim he will cover the C position of NT for years. Hard to believe but, he was a great defensive specialist for that level, beautifying his game with solid athleticism and rebound instinct. I don’t know what happened to this guy then, he started to try to shoot the ball behind the arc, The new Aşık had been forced to change his game into new Okur. In these days, Olmaz is a guy who is trying couple of 3PTs per a game, soft as hell, doesn’t get into rebounding fights much. You can’t see a player who has changed his game radically that much anywhere. Once he was popular among NBA scouts, they don’t know where he is playing right now most probably.

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    Ayberk - Kenan - Tayfun are still young.

    I agree with the rest. Cenk Akyol was suppose to be the new ''Ibrahim Kutluay'' ... But obviously he isn't going to be one.

    Can Maxim had a potential to be a new Kerem Tunçeri, but he failed as well. He fail to become a new Kerem Tunçeri, and Tunceri wasn't even a top-tier play maker in the europe, a near-top perhaps.

    Dogus Balbay isn't that bad right now, he is at least playing in the Euroleague. But people expected from him to be much more, I agree.

    I never expected big things from Izzet, however he could be much better with proper training and position knowledge, he failed to be a star as well.

    Hakan Demirel was actually played at Fenerbahce for a while but he was simply not that good, he was meant to be a middle-tier player in the Turkish League.

    Barış Ersek, actually become a champion in 2015 season with Karşıyaka, not that bad and he is in one of the best teams in the Euroleague right now, but people expected better from him I agree, he could be a role player at Fenerbahce, but he failed to be one.
    Last edited by Tevfik1907; 05-12-2017 at 08:12 PM.

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    Senior Member Worrax's Avatar
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    @ slice me nice;
    Very good article, thank you.
    Let me remind "Ilkan Karaman", too...
    One of the big disappointments of Turkish basketball history.

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    Senior Member okanial's Avatar
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    I seriously wouldn`t put Balbay there. He is at least a rotationn player in a top 8 Euroleague team. Maybe he could have been much more but his career is not bad. I`d say he can fit and b valuable to any team for 10-15 minutes but wouldn`t play more than 20 in any team.

    Let`s hope we won`t see Cedi, Furkan, Tolga, Okben or younger guys in lists like these in future

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    Administrator Levenspiel's Avatar
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    good list and good read, SMC, thank you.

    You hit the nail on the had on Hakan Demirel and Cenk Akyol I think. They were both expected to achieve great things once upon a time. Ilkan Karaman also is an unfortunate case.

    We have maybe the most number of flopped talents in Europe, in every position, but our PG prospects have almost all been disasters so far; Demirel, Eroglu, Sipahi, Erulku, Edge... even decent careers like Arslan, Ermis, Balbay, Atsur etc should have developed better. I'm hoping for Ugurlu to break this curse, but it's not looking good. and I'm not sold on Akyuz, either.

    I don't agree on Mutaf (who is doing ok), and I think some other players like Turkyilmaz, Hersek, Yildizli, Bora Hun Pacun, etc etc were not even that good prospects to start with.

    What the hell happened to Burak Haciismail?
    5 out 6 scientists say Russian roulette is safe.

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    Senior Member gockun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levenspiel View Post
    good list and good read, SMC, thank you.

    You hit the nail on the had on Hakan Demirel and Cenk Akyol I think. They were both expected to achieve great things once upon a time. Ilkan Karaman also is an unfortunate case.

    We have maybe the most number of flopped talents in Europe, in every position, but our PG prospects have almost all been disasters so far; Demirel, Eroglu, Sipahi, Erulku, Edge... even decent careers like Arslan, Ermis, Balbay, Atsur etc should have developed better. I'm hoping for Ugurlu to break this curse, but it's not looking good. and I'm not sold on Akyuz, either.

    I don't agree on Mutaf (who is doing ok), and I think some other players like Turkyilmaz, Hersek, Yildizli, Bora Hun Pacun, etc etc were not even that good prospects to start with.

    What the hell happened to Burak Haciismail?
    After some injuries, I read somewhere he was doing some coaching thing in youth level.

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