Before the Turkey Men’s National Basketball Team left for China for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, we found out more about the preparation process and their expectations from the tournament from the President of the Turkish Basketball Federation Hidayet Türkoğlu and the technical team.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will be held in China with the participation of 32 teams between August 31 and September 15. The games will be played simultaneously and will take place in Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Foshan, Nanjing, Shenzhen, and Dongguan.
The Turkey men’s national baskeball team will be participating in the world cup for the fifth time following 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. The team successfully made it to the second place of its group, which included the notable European basketball teams of Spain, Montenegro, Slovenia, Latvia, and Ukraine, and succeeded in directly participating in the World Cup for the first time. Although NBA players Ersan Ilyasova, Cedi Osman, and Furkan Korkmaz were unable to join most of the qualifiers because of the busy fixture, they joined the summer training. From July, the team started focusing on the championship in China. After the camp period in Slovenia in August, they had a series of practice games in France, Turkey, and Greece.
According to the draw attended by Kobe Bryant, the 2019 FIBA World Cup global ambassador, the team will compete in Group E and against the USA, Czechia, and Japan. The national team will play against Japan on September 1, at 11:30 (Turkish time); against the USA on September 3, at 15:30 (Turkish time); and against Czechia on September 5, at 11:30 (Turkish time). All the games will be in Shanghai. The top two teams will go on to the second round and the points gained in the first two will be carried on to the next round.
Our First Objective Is the Olympics
Hidayet Türkoğlu, the president of the Turkey Basketball Federation, in a previous statement declared that they are proud and excited to be able to represent Turkey in a championship at such a level. He expressed his belief that the head coach Ufuk Sarıca, who achieved a dream by qualifying the team for the World Cup, and the players will return from China with results that will make us proud. Türkoğlu also pointed out that Turkey will be playing against the tournament favorite, the USA, and that one of the most important objectives is to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He also stated that participating in the Olympics is not only important for the careers of the team’s young players but also for the careers of the administration, who themselves had great success when they were on the basketball court.
Fighting until the Final Whistle
Kerem Tunçeri, manager of the men’s national basketball team, pointed out the importance of the qualifying and preparation games as a way for young players to gain experience. Tunçeri stated that the players are completely focused on the tournament and are working hard. He also emphasized the technical team’s devotion. The head coach of the men’s national basketball team Ufuk Sarıca expressed the trust he has in the players and the team despite some of the difficulties faced during the preparation period. Sarıca said there is not a single team that the Turkish team cannot beat if they manage to play as a team and added that they will fight until the final whistle blows at every game. The experienced player and team captain Semih Erden stated that despite some of the shortcomings during the Basketball World Cup Qualifiers, they managed to prove that they are a good team, and now that the team is complete, they are even stronger.