By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
In 2019, Alex Poythress decided for the first time in his basketball career to play outside the United States. He started in China, however, he has arrived in Galatasaray just in time to be a factor in the 7DAYS EuroCup season.
In four games so far, two in the regular season and two in the Top 16, he is averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Not bad at all for a rookie in Europe who is still trying to adapt to the details and style of the game on the Old Continent.
That’s why Poythress says that starting out in a city like Istanbul and for a club with the fanbase of Galatasaray is a blessing.
“My impression of Galatasaray is great!” he says. “The fans and the city are incredible. They have definitely welcomed me with open arms and I’m glad I chose this as my first place to be in Europe for sure. And the EuroCup is very competitive. All the teams are really good and normally every game is close; plus, they all matter so much in the standings to move forward and to keep playing for the championship.”
Despite not even being in Europe for two months yet, Poythress has already turned heads; EuroLeague teams are monitoring his progress.
However, Poythress thinks that he can make it to the EuroLeague together with Galatasaray via the EuroCup:
“I definitely think that we have a shot of winning the EuroCup and being in the EuroLeague next season. Galatasaray is very talented this year, from top to bottom. I and my teammates aren’t afraid of any team in front of us. We’ve had some injuries since I’ve got here, but it just means it’s the next man up. Someone else on our team will step up and fill that role.”
Galatasaray is certainly EuroCup playoff material, and the newcomer feels not only that he has found the right situation, but also that European basketball, in general, might just be the right place for him:
“I definitely feel like I can build a career in Europe. My teammates and my coach Ertugrul Erdogan have done a great job of explaining the ins and out of the European game. I’m a sponge, so I learn stuff quickly. I feel like my game of being a versatile forward is definitely fit for Europe and just being athletic and playing to my strengths.”
With games coming up against UNICS Kazan, Monaco and Rytas Vilnius, things are not going to be easy for Galatasaray, which has already has dropped a home game in Top 16 Group G against the latter. On the other hand, they have beaten Monaco on the road in a group where all the teams are 1-1 and anything can happen.
But there is no doubt that, as Poythress said, Galatasaray definitely has a shot to go all the way, just as it did to win the 7DAYS EuroCup title in 2016.