Team Turkey/Fenerbahçe Ülker guard Ömer Onan makes a few declarations in this morning’s Today’s Zaman, summing up well the current state of TBL and Turkish international ball.
“[ACB] aside,” opines Onan, “in Turkish basketball, we have long surpassed important European domestic leagues, including the Italian and Greek leagues. In these countries, only one or two teams are of a high quality and at a high level. We, on the other hand, have at least six or seven clubs that have invested greatly in basketball and have many star players.”
(For the record, the top seven teams in the TBL standings currently are Euroleague’s Fenerbahçe and Efes Pilsen Istanbul; Eurocup teams Banvit BK, Galatasaray Cafe Crown and Beşiktaş Cola Turka; Eurochallenge contenders Pinar Karsiyaka; and Olin Edirne.)
Onan goes on to state that “I believe Turkish basketball has advanced to a higher grade. We are getting more successful results both from our national team and our domestic teams. Efes Pilsen and Fenerbahçe Ülker must push for [Euroleague quarterfinals]. I believe in the coming years, both Efes and we will be making it to the final four on a regular basis.”
As for the upcoming Eurobasket 2011 tournament, “The championship will not be easy at all. If we can advance to the second round, we will face powerful rivals from the other groups. But we are the second biggest in the world, after all. … If we can manage to make it to top eight in Lithuania, we will become a big contender for the title because we will have played the most difficult games,” i.e. the Group A round-robin matches against the likes of hosts Lithuania, Spain, Poland and Great Britain.
The entire interview — and it’s impressively extensive — may be read here.