By Can Pelister
Before U-18 European Championship this summer, Konya hosted U-18 Turkey Championship between 20-25 May. Eurohopes was there to watch all the top talents in Turkey in ’96 and ’97 generation. Unfortunately two top prospects, Berk Ugurlu and Egemen Guven (’96) -played just first game- didn’t play for their teams in Konya because of senior team play-off’s. Okben Ulubay was also included in that list because he already had 2 licenses with 2 different teams.
Pertevniyal (Anadolu Efes) became the champion of tournament, while MG Spor (Tofas) was second and Galatasaray finished the tournament at third place. Furkan Korkmaz (’97) -at the pic- selected as MVP of the tournament, averaging 21 points+8.1 rebounds+2.5 assists per game. Utku Saraloglu (’96) of Fenerbahce, who had a great season, selected as best guard of tournament. Ege Arar (’96) named best center of the tournament, while his teammate Gokturk Ural (’95)* named best forward. But clearly for the spectators, MVP was Ogulcan Baykan (’96) who had very great performances in the last 3 days. He scored 41 points vs. Darussafaka Dogus in quarter final, 24 in semi’s and 27 in final game. Let’s start analyzing the top prospects from the tournament with Baykan...
Ogulcan Baykan SG-SF 1.98M ’96 Efes
Baykan has a good size and physic to play on both guard positions and small forward position. After playing senior basketball in TB2L, he seemed more strong and better on getting contacts. After comparing to past, he’s now better on penetrating, attacking to the rim and whenever he gets to the rim, finds a way to score/asist or get foul (He was on FT line 6.8 per game). He’s a very good, lights-out shooter but need to fix his wrong shot selections and his % will go up with improving shot selections. On defensive end, he still need to be better and more tough.
Tolga Geçim G/F 2.05M ’96 Banvit
Tolga has brilliant basketball mind and courtvision, also he’s a great ball handler for a guy who’s 6’9". He still needs to improve his shot, if he wants to become elite offensive player on the highest level. But beside shooting, he can do all the things very good. Because he’s playing as a PG and about 40 minutes in U18, he wasn’t able to put some effort on defensive end. Still growing and with having 2 serious injuries past year, it’s not easy for him to be 100% ready as physically.
Mert Cevik SG-SF 2.00M ’96 Tofas
He’s also very good shooter and scorer, same like Baykan. Standing at 6’7’’ Turk possesses great size to play on both SG and SF positions. Generally, Cevik is average defender but he’s crafty, can steal the balls. In tournament, he performed above average and especially in Fenerbahce game, he done very good job with high %. For me, he’s one of the players who’s ready to play on senior level and he just needs to be more consistent, stay in the game and be more explosive, tough in general.
Metehan Akyel PF/C 2.08M ’96 Banvit
Akyel playing organized basketball only for 2 years, just like Olmaz. He was founded in Bursa. Of course, he’s raw and don’t know details of the game, also defensive-offensive concepts. But it’s all normal for a kid who plays basketball for only 2 years. First of all, he’s very tough and doesn’t afraid to get contacts neither on offense or defense. Because of that, most of time, like in Mannheim, he gets early fouls. Can say he’s mobile and has a mid-range jumper, which can improve.
Furkan Korkmaz SG-SF 2.00M ’97 Efes
Korkmaz already proved himself as one of the best talents/potentials of his age group in Turkey and Europe. He almost done everything in this tournament. Shooting after pNr, from stagger, off dribble, spot up... He proved once again that he’s one of the best shooters in his age group. Except that, he played some minutes at PF, and he was not bad, especially he helped his team in rebounds al lot, averaging 8.1 rebounds per game.
Ege Arar PF 2.06M ’96 Galatasaray
In his breakout season, Arar finished the season with good tournament in his final cadet year. His offense was not the best, especially he didn’t have high % but thanks to his rebounding ability, he had 17 rebounds per game and almost every game he finished with double-double. As leaning towards becoming a pro, he needs to control himself and his body language. That’s biggest concern for him.
Berkan Durmaz SF 2.02M ’97 Tofas
Looks like Durmaz improved himself a lot comparing to last year. He’s now more physical and not afraids to get contacts, thanks to playing in TB3L with seniors. He was almost active in every rebound, especially offensive boards. Of course his long arms helps him to be in every possesion of rebounding the ball and especially in Darussafaka game, he had 30 points+11 rebounds, maybe that was his best game. His shot still needs work.
Ayberk Olmaz PF 2.08M ’96 Fenerbahçe
It was so-so tournament for Ayberk Olmaz, who’s one of the best prospects of ’96 generation in Europe, and probably he was the best prospect in Konya. After playing in Milano and get injured there, he didn’t perform well in Konya and for the spectators, he was dissappointment. He has god-given freakish athleticism and he runs the court very well for a guy who’s tall 2.08. But, he’s only playing basketball for 2 years and after being on the spotlight, everybody talking about him and how good is he, it’s not easy. His attitude and mentality will be very crucial in his future.
Dogus Ozdemiroglu G 1.95M ’96 Darussafaka Dogus
Dogus already had serious minutes with senior team of Darussafaka and he done a great job in senior level too. He has very good physic to play on both guard positions and enough tall for pos. 1 & 2. He can shot the ball well but needs to make his selections better. Maybe because of his role in U18, he took lot of shots and in my opinion without scoring needs, he’s better player. Ozdemiroglu has great defensive skills and with his full effort, he can be nightmare for the opponents.
Egehan Arna G/F 1.98M ’97 Fenerbahçe
With Saraloglu, who named best guard of the tournament, Arna was one of the best players of Fenerbahçe in tournament. He played mostly as a playmaker and done a great job in al the aspects of the game: scoring, passing the ball, helping the rebounds and more. He’s above average athlete and in my opinion, his shooting development will be very crucial in his career.
Yiğit Arslan G 1.96M ’96 Tofas
I liked the way how he played. Arslan puts great effort on defensive end and on offense, he usually penetrates or shots the ball with good %. He don’t have high basketball IQ, courtvision or passing skills but also showed that he can play some minutes at point guard spot. He has enough size to play on both guard positions and strong.
*: You can play one ’95 born player according to rules.
Twitter of author: @HCanPelister