A “healthy” team at the start of the Euroleague playoffs was vital to Fenerbahçe’s Euroleague title, coach Zeljko Obradovic has said.
“Before the start of the playoffs, we finally had healthy players. We started working the way we like to do,” Obradovic said in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Having 16 players including young Ahmet [Düverioğlu] is something that is very good for us. We worked very well, that is something you must do if you want to be successful at this level,” he added.
Fenerbahçe became the first Turkish club to win the Turkish Airlines Euroleague trophy on May 21, routing Olympiakos 80-64 in the final game at Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome.
The nine-time Euroleague champion coach acknowledged the support of the team’s fans in winning the title.
“They were excellent. Their contribution to this trophy is big,” Obradovic said.
He now expects the fans to continue to show their support for Fenerbahçe
when the team starts its playoffs campaign in the domestic Spor Toto Basketball Super League.
“It will be tough for us coming out of the Euroleague Final Four. But the fans really help our game,” Obradovic said, adding that they want to reclaim the league trophy that Fenerbahçe
won last year.
Fenerbahçe’s championship game was a huge event across Turkey, with a number of cities erecting giant screens for viewing parties.
Following the victory, hundreds of thousands of fans across Turkey poured onto the streets to celebrate, with Bağdat Street and Yoğurtçu Park in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul serving as the center of celebrations.
The team celebrated the trophy with fans on May 22 during a bus tour in Kadıköy on the Asian side of the city, where the club is based.
As teams begin to pivot to next season, Obradovic is reluctant to make any major changes to his squad.
“Our plan right now is to continue playing at this level in the Turkish playoffs. Once it is done, we will sit and talk about everything that we plan for next season,” he said.
“Honestly I don’t think we need to change a lot of things. But like always, let’s finish this season first,” he added.
It’s hard to argue with the logic of the man who has coached 500 games in the Euroleague and finds motivation from his love of basketball.
“I like basketball. I am very happy. This is my home. I spend every day here. I feel very happy coming to practice in the morning or in the evening,” the legendary coach said.
“I am very happy because I have the pleasure to share the feeling with these people over here. The first title in the history of the one big club like Fenerbahçe,” Obradovic said.
“Thanks to everyone who supported us and was behind us. This trust that we have from our fans is something that pushes us to always work harder. Without them, nothing would make sense,” he added.