There is no doubt that Turkish basketball teams and players alike are of world-class quality. Just take a look at the number of Turkish teams playing in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Even the league is sponsored by Turkish brands such as Turkish Airlines and Efes Pilsen, the No.1 Turkish beer. And teams like Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are the definite inspiration even for casino games such as this one developed by one of England’s biggest gaming companies.
One of the finest college basketball coaches, John Calipari, has stated how impressed he is from the game played in Turkey. He told Anadolu Agency, that despite being a coach in the USA for the University of Kentucky, he regularly follows European basketball and especially enjoys watching the games played by the teams coming from Turkey.
Calipari said that the level on which the Turkish teams and players has at the moment is at all-time high. They can easily take on any of the best European teams and even the teams in the NBA. According to him Turkey is doing a lot right now to elevate the game.
The 58-year-old coach of University of Kentucky was a former coach of the Dominican Republic for a brief period of one year between 2011 and 2012. He was also coaching the New Jersey Nets from 1996 to 1999, and was an assistant coach in the 76ers from 1999 to 2000. At the moment he is also the coach of Team USA U-19, which shows that his praising of the Turkish basketball has a lot of credibility.
Even Benjamin Morel, the NBA managing director for Africa, Middle East and Europe, said how Turkish basketball teams and players are of extreme high quality. He sees great potential for Istanbul to foster basketball players and said that Turkish players could play in the NBA without a problem and follow the example of Omer Asik, Ersan Ilyasova and Enes Kanter currently playing there.
Enes Kanter actually tried to play college basketball in the USA, but due to his one year spent as a pro player in the Premier League, he lost his amateur status. Nevertheless, Kanter was a top NBA pick in 2011 when Utah Jazz picked him as third overall.
Hidayet Turkoglu is probably the best known Turkish player in the NBA, a legend that played there for 14 years for a number of teams there like the Kings, Spurs, Magic, Raptors, Suns, and the Clippers where he retired. Morel and Turkoglu are great friends, and says that he is one of the best basketball ambassadors not only for the NBA but for the world too.
Turkey has been the hotbed for basketball since the 1960s and as a result the Turkish league today is considered one of the best in the world ranking on every top 10 list. Many legends have played in Turkey among which an NBA legend like Allen Iverson who played for Besiktas in his last season as a professional player. Iverson retired there in 2011.