By Antigoni Zachari / firstname.lastname@example.org
18-year-old Turkish prospect Alperen Sengun’s stellar season with Besiktas has sparked the interest of NBA scouts and teams and his stocks in the NBA, as well as “comparisons” to Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic are rising day by day.
The 2002-born big man discussed his plans to get to the NBA when the current season ends, Denver Nuggets‘ team play, as well as working to improve on his shortcomings this season, in a recent interview with Turkey’s NTV Spor. Despite still not having decided about his future when he was once again interviewed about it in March, the picture seems clear now.
“I have been dreaming of going to the NBA since the beginning of the season. I will start my preparations for the NBA as the season ends. I am excited. I hope it goes well for me, I will work well. Playing with LeBron James is everyone’s dream, but I don’t have a certain team in my mind right now because I don’t want to focus somewhere. I don’t want to be upset if I really want a place and can’t go there. So it can be any team right now. As a result, I will choose a team that I can play with. I don’t want to go to sit there. I want to go there early and improve myself. I want to improve myself physically, in basketball, in everything”, stated Sengun.
Despite some physical shortcomings that Sengun himself acknowledges, there is no denying that his strong season makes him a big-time catch for any team in the upcoming NBA Draft. In his first season with Besiktas, the Turkish center posts an average of 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a PIR of 26.8 across 28 minutes on the court in the domestic league, while he also turned heads in Besiktas’ short appearance in the FIBA Europe Cup this season.
That being said, the scouts might not want to let the young gun slip away, just most of them did with Jokic in the 2014, due to some of his physical weaknesses.
From his side, Sengun is enticed by the Nuggets’ team play, as he further explains.
“I really like the Denver Nuggets because they play a full team game. I take Nikola Jokic as an example of this type of play. I would like to play in such a team”, said Sengun.
“Of course, there are points I want to improve in terms of defense. I have to settle for nothing. I have to do more in offense, I know they do, too. I have shortcomings everywhere, so I am working in all of them”.
“This season we have been given a great opportunity, I knew I had to seize it. There was a pandemic, but we were also working in the summer. We had an individual coach, we were working with him. I have worked hard since the summer and I knew it was a great opportunity for me. […] Compared to the beginning of the season, my physique got better, but I could not get where I wanted. I want to work harder and come where I want”.
As the season in Turkey is slowly approaching its end, Sengun’s goals of improvement are still in place.
“My current idea is that I want to go directly to the NBA and develop there. There is a part of me saying I should go to the EuroLeague and gain experience, and the other says I should go to the NBA and develop there. What I want right now is to go to the NBA and develop there. Of course, EuroLeague is a big organization, I watch most of the EuroLeague matches. But my current plan, as I said, is to go to the NBA and develop there. Of course, I do not know what will happen at the end of the season”.