By Niki Bakouli/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Hidayet Turkoglu and Turkish national team didn’t met the expectations in Eurobasket 2013, however Orlando’s forward can have the chance to turn the tables in the upcoming season by becoming a member of the biggest basketball project in his home country, Fenerbahce/ Ulker.
As Mirsad Turkcan, the team manager, told to Eurohoops in Koper, Slovenia, it’s not easy, but the contacts between the two sides are still ongoing: “We already completed the team. The roster is completed with the only possible exception the case of Turkoglu. At this point he is locked in Orlando, if he gets released, he will maybe want to come back. He is my friend, he is a very big player, but he still has a contract. We need to fix a lot of things in order to get him and I don’t think it will be easy. You never know what will happen. We are already speaking about it the last two or three weeks, it’s not done yet and it’s not easy”.
Turkcan played an instrumental role also in the negotiations with Zeljko Obradovic, the coach who will be the main attraction of the team, despite the additions of players like Linas Kleiza, or even Turkoglu: “I know Zeljko a long time. First of all we come from the same country and of course I consider him the biggest coach in Europe, even in European history. Always when I spoke with my bosses in the club, they said to me tell him to come. We need him, because he is not just any coach. He is bringing with him tremendous respect from all around Europe and everything we need as a club. You know that Fenerbahce the last five or six years spends a lot of money, we had a terrible last season and we need results, specially in Euroleague. This is a tradition that we need to break. Finally we have Zeljko and I am very happy, because not only Fenerbahce, but Turkish basketball in general gained respect by his decision. And we know for sure that now Fenerbahce is going to be one of the most important teams in Europe finally. It’s also a challenge for Obradovic, because after one year of rest he wanted to return to work and I think he is happy now”.
The process of getting him to Istanbul wasn’t easy: “We spoke almost every day for two months. We had a long meeting in Belgrade and the main subject was what Zeljko needed. He likes discipline, he wants to have the full support of the club and he also has that, we are all fully behind him and I don’t think that he will stay just two years. I think that he will stay at least a decade and also win a lot of cups. We need to build a good environment, because there is also a lot of pressure from our sponsors. They are keep giving money, they invested a lot in next season’s team and we will see what results we will get”.
And now Turkcan can be a part of something great: “It’s also a very big opportunity for me. We spend almost all summer together with Zeljko and I am learning by being around him. After being in basketball for 20 years there are things that Zeljko tells to me that I hear for the first time. I am learning how the best coaches are preparing their team, how they prepare the practice, how they prepare the game and I know that I will enjoy this year. I hope that Zeljko will going to fix things in the team. Last season we talked a lot about our goals and we didn’t achieve anything. This year we are trying to build something and we will see how it goes”.