‘12 Giant Men’ launch bid for EuroBasket 2013

‘12 Giant Men’ launch bid for EuroBasket 2013

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘12 Giant Men’ launch bid for EuroBasket 2013

Turkey is in Group F in the qualification stage of the 2013 European Basketball Championships, along with Italy, Czech Republic, Portugal and Belarus. AA photo

A renewed Turkish national basketball team will take on Belarus in Ankara this Saturday in the first game of the 2013 European Championships qualifying campaign.

Coach Bogdan Tanjevic, who returned to his post after a two year hiatus for health problems, has dropped some of the team’s big names, including Hidayet Türkoğlu and Ersan İlyasova, from the squad and added some young guns.

One of those new names is 22-year-old İlkan Karaman of Pınar Karşıyaka, who was selected late in the second round of this year’s NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets.

The 2.05m forward is eager to make his mark with the national team.

“It is a great pride for me to play for the national team,” Karaman was quoted as saying on the official website of EuroBasket 2013.

“From the beginning, my goal has been to play in the national team and the NBA. Now, I’ve come into the national team. My next goal is to be successful in the NBA, so my performance in the national team is very important. I want to be here permanently,” Karaman said. 

Another name expected shine in the squad is Galatsaray’s Furkan Aldemir. The power forward, who just turned 21 on Aug. 9, averaged a double-double at each of the last two U20 European Championships.

“Everybody trusts us. We are a new team. We have to have a good morale if we want to make it to EuroBasket next summer,” said Aldemir. 

When asked if he and the team felt any pressure to qualify, Aldemir said: “Actually no. In 2010 we beat everybody except the Americans and took second at the World Championship. This year it is a very different team. We have to show our game and play good. That’s it really. We don’t have the pressure.”

Turkey is in Group F for the qualifications, along with Italy, Czech Republic, Portugal and Belarus. The top two teams in the six groups will advance to the final tournament, with the four best third placers, host Macedonia and six teams from the London Olympics are joining them.

Saturday’s game at Ankara Arena starts at 5 p.m. and will be covered live by NTV Spor. Tickets for the game are available on biletix.com starting from 12 Turkish Liras.