By Semih Tuna/ email@example.com
Having played basketball at the top continental level for years, Sinan Guler has added new features to his game every year and has gained the appreciation of basketball fans. And now the Turkish star player is now opening a new page in his career.
One that includes the goal of becoming EuroLeague champion for the first time in his career by wearing the Fenerbahçe Doğuş jersey. Following this huge step in for him, Sinan gave his first exclusive interview to Eurohoops.net.
Eurohoops: First of all, thank you for accepting us. You just moved to Fenerbahçe Doğuş. We wish you good luck with your new journey. With this move, you’ve become the 4th player to play in four big clubs of İstanbul. This must be an unusual feeling. How do you feel?
Sinan Güler: I would like to thank you for offering me this opportunity. First of all, as someone who was born and raised in İstanbul, spending all my career in this beautiful basketball city, and achieving in this city is a joy and pride. Continuing my career in İstanbul is an important chance for me. From the perspective of my current position, looking at the past, hope I can find chances to add new successes in my career.
Eurohoops: Could you please tell us how you decided to leave Galatasaray? I mean, have you had any talks with them about renewing your contract?
Güler: At the end of the season, I started thinking about what to do, considering my goals for my career as I came to the end of my contract. At this point, we had several talks with Galatasaray and they mainly talked about their future plans rather than a renewal. And I said that I was looking for a contender team in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and I could still realize this ideal. After this meeting, we did not have any other conversation.
Eurohoops: It is not really usually seen that Galatasaray’s captain moves to Fenerbahçe. Can we say that this transfer has broken some taboos in Turkish professional sports?
Güler: Honestly, I am not the one to comment on this topic. It’s up to what people think about this move. Yet, as a professional basketball player, all my career, my main goal has been to step Turkish basketball up, both individually and as a part of the team. This was an important chance for me in order to maintain this goal.
Eurohoops: Which factors have played the key role for your transfer to Fenerbahçe? How did they convince you?
Güler: Primarily, apart from all, to be in the transfer list of the Euroleague champs was the most important thing. Besides, Obradovic being the coach and the fact that Fenerbahçe has a concrete structure with the arrival of him have been other key factors. During that process, having several talks with both Fenerbahçe officials and Gherardini and Obradovic played a key role on my decision.
Eurohoops: You’re 34, and so far, you have improved yourself, every single season. Playing in the Euroleague with Anadolu Efes, and shouldering a much more important role on the court while winning the EuroCup title in Galatasaray Jersey… And now stepping on the top of the Euroleague with your move to Fenerbahçe, I suppose next season is pretty important for you. Can we think Euroleague title as your biggest target in your career?
Güler: Absolutely. I grew up with the dream of being an NBA player during my teenage years. Then facing with realities of my career and the life, I’ve had much more realistic targets. It will be my 9th season in the Euroleague, if I’m not mistaken. At this point, being a part of a club, which has been a constant member of Final Four for last 3 years and winning the title in the end, seems the most suitable thing for me to do. Moreover, taking part in Euroleague Final Four and playing some role in winning the title were one of my most important individual goals, and I believe we can make it happen.
Eurohoops: You will play for the best coach of European basketball history. This, as well, must be exciting you, right?
Güler: Of course it does. His point of view through the game, tactical approach and, regardless what he has achieved, his everlasting hunger for the success, for improving himself are also great motivations for his players in terms of doing their best on the court. Accordingly, every player wants to play for Obradovic, some acquire this chance. So, I consider myself lucky.
Eurohoops: We saw improving one’s game after a certain age, thanks to you. What do we expect to see from Sinan in Fenerbahçe? Have you had a talk with Obradovic about your role in the team?
Güler: It was certain what I play when we talked with the coach. I believe that I can play both as a point guard and shooting guard. Above all, I consider myself as a player helping his team whenever the team needs. I can see what the team needs and how I can contribute to my team with the beginning of the season, and I will shape my game accordingly.
Eurohoops: What do you think about Fenerbahçe’s last season from an outsider perspective?
Güler: All Euroleague teams experienced several injuries, ups and downs. The fact that Fenerbahçe had their up in the most crucial part of the season and played much better in the both ends of the game starting from the playoffs showed that they were the favourites for the title. It was obvious.
Eurohoops: Year after year, you transformed your role into a leader, a ball-handler in pick-and-roll plays. Especially, last year you had at least one highlight play every single game along with Alex Tyus. Now you will play with Jan Vesely and a potential new big man in the machine-like system of Fenerbahçe. This must be another factor exciting you, right?
Güler: I have a perspective of contributing to my teammates and improving them. It might be an inheritance passing from my father. On the court, playing all together, stimulating others to participate is much better. Playing along with an athletic player like Vesely arouses a great interest in me. I want to see how it works.
Eurohoops: You have been playing with Bobby Dixon for 3 years in Turkish National Team. How was your dialogue with him on the court?
Güler: Both playing in the national team and as rivals for 4 years, we have an intimate competition with Dixon. Thanks to my education in the USA, I tried to facilitate his adaptation to the national team and this allowed us to have a closer conversation. Being this open for him to establish this dialogue with us distinguishes him from other players. I am sure he will help me, as well. I am excited to spend time with him.
Eurohoops: Crucial players like Ekpe Udoh and Bogdan Bogdanovic moved to NBA from the reigning champs. What do you think about their leaves?
Güler: As you said, they have a machine-like system in the team. They achieved the aim by improving this system day-by-day. Of course their move is an important loss for us, but we will see what we can do in this operative structure. Besides, I am really happy for them as they had a great season in Euroleague and moved to NBA.
Eurohoops: As we can see on the social media, Fenerbahçe fans are pretty happy to see you in the team. You played against them for years, what would you like to say about them?
Güler: Honestly, Turkish basketball grows with the support of the fans, as Fenerbahçe Doğuş did. In our home, there is a group of fans knowing basketball well. Playing in front of them is another factor giving excitement to me.
Eurohoops: Finally, we would like to talk about Turkish national team as we open the season tomorrow with the first training. What do you expect from Turkish national team in Eurobasket 2017?
Güler: We get to the Eurobasket with a relatively young core. I played with Hidayet Türkoğlu and his generation. I played throughout the transitional period as well. We have players with true potential and we would like to show our abilities on the court. Doing so, I expect a special tournament waiting in front of us. Surely we have high hopes, yet firstly we need to seize the opportunity of preparation period of 1,5 months by knowing ourselves. And finally we will give our best in the tournament, for sure.
Eurohoops: Thank you so much for sparing us time for this interview. Again, good luck for your career.
Güler: Once again, thank you.