By Semih Tuna / email@example.com
Talking to Eurohoops during Anadolu Efes media day, the new head coach of Turkish champions Erdem Can touched on various topics, from his signing with the Istanbul team, new squad, to his aspirations for the NBA.
He admits it was an honor receiving an offer from Anadolu Efes, which fits in with his ambitions.
“I have big goals in my life. Being part of large and powerful organizations is important to achieve these goals. I see myself as constantly evolving as a coach. Getting an offer from Efes was very honorable for me,” Can said to Eurohoops.
Before leading Turk Telekom to the EuroCup final last season, Can spent a year in the NBA, working as a part of the Utah Jazz‘s coaching staff with Quin Snyder.
“When you’re in the NBA, the purpose of being there is very important. The experience I gained there greatly contributed to my basketball philosophy, the system I have in mind, and what I want to accomplish. But I always had the desire and motivation to be a head coach. So, after that period, I felt it was time to move towards being a head coach.”
Can doesn’t rule out returning to the NBA.
“I’m still in touch with him. I continue to communicate with other coaches, managers, and general managers in the NBA, but I want to achieve bigger things as a head coach and then go back to the NBA in a stronger way.”
Anadolu Efes head coach believes completing the roster early this summer, with the exception of Justus Hollatz, didn’t bring many benefits.
“We didn’t really see much benefit in completing it early. Because Dogus Ozdemiroglu got injured early, and as you know, Shane has an issue with his Turkish nationality status. The dynamics we considered when completing the squad early suddenly changed. So, we entered a new evaluation process.”
Anadolu Efes changed the roster drasticlly, adding eight new players, including Darius Thompson from Baskonia, and Turkish BSL MVP Tyrique Jones, who played under Can in Ankara last season.
“The team’s picture is clear. We have several very successful players at the EuroLeague level. In addition to them, we have players who are hungry for success and have potential. We also have young players who are just starting to play at the EuroLeague level. So, everyone has their own story. Some will enhance their success even further and write their own story. Some will prove that they can be permanent here. But every player has potential.”
Thompson practically came as a replacement for Vasilije Micic, who went to the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Darius Thompson’s characteristics are not the same as Vasilije Micic’s, but our team is not the same team either. We will try to build a structure where everyone can work together, get the most out of what they can do, and produce better results when they are together. So, I don’t think we operate in an environment where we compare Vasa with Darius or assess players’ performances from last season or previous seasons. Because there are new players with them, there’s a new coach, and there’s a new basketball philosophy. We are working to see how much we can grow together with the right chemistry.”
Jones was also of interest to other EuroLeague teams this season, not just Anadolu Efes, but Can assured he wanted to be part of the team.
“It’s up to Tyrique. His ability to take ownership of himself within the style of basketball we will play and contribute here is directly proportional. Of course, he has potential, or else we wouldn’t want to see him here. Despite having other offers, he wanted to be with us. Because he’s aware of the strength of the Anadolu Efes organization. He wanted to be part of a big structure.”
Erdem Can commit to helping Turkish players evolve and will try to give them as many chances as possible.
“This is a promise I made to myself. As a Turkish coach, having a structure where we can involve these players is what I really want. Unfortunately, Dogus’s injury this season really affected us a lot.”
Coach of the year in EuroCup last season hopes for a successful first season and points out the motivations of players as the most important aspect of the team.
“It’s going well so far. We have a very eager and motivated group of players. They really want to be successful. Their motivation is the most important factor. No matter how eager you are as a coach, it’s the motivation of your players that is the most valuable part. I hope we all come together on the same page and have a successful season with the right chemistry,” Can concluded.