The 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) that will be held here in Manila is just around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to get a better of feel of each of the teams taking part and playing for one of three remaining wild card tickets to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In this part, let’s focus on the 12 Giant Men of Turkey.
FIBA Rank: 8
Latest FIBA performance:
– 14th place in Eurobasket 2015. 3 wins (Italy, Germany, & Iceland) and 3 losses (Spain, Serbia, & France).
Latest tune-up games:
– TUR took part in the 2016 Trentino Cup in Italy, losing to CHN, 70-75, before beating the Czech Republic, 92-65. They also recently blasted Gilas, 103-68, in a tune-up game.
Current 15-Man Roster:
Ender Arslan – 6’1 – G
Semih Erden – 6’11 – F/C
Furkan Korkmaz – 6’7 – G/F
Cedi Osman – 6’7 – F
Omer Asik – 7’0 – C
Samet Geyik – 6’8 – F
Melih Mahmutoglu – 6’3 – G
Oguz Savas – 6’9 – F
Dogus Balbay – 6’1 – G
Sinan Guler – 6’4 – G
Ali Muhammed (Bobby Dixon) – 5’10 – G
Kenan Sipahi – 6’4 – G
Birkan Batuk – 6’5 – G
Baris Hersek – 6’6 – F
The star: Semih Erden – Erden has been TUR’s most reliable big man for the past few years. He uses his size well and finishes strong around the rim. He’s not the best rebounder or shot-blocker out there, but there is no frontline operator on this team better than Erden.
The naturalized player: Ali Muhammed (Bobby Dixon) – Dixon cleans up the backcourt for TUR. His speed, shooting, and playmaking make him a very difficult match-up, and he rounds out the team’s game, which is predicated on their big men and shooters. He has the potential to be the best PG in the OQT outside of Tony Parker.
The breakout: Birkan Batuk – Batuk torched Gilas with 22 points on the strength of 5 triples in their recent tune-up game. He moved well off the picks and showcased a very smooth stroke. His Euroleague numbers aren’t eye-popping, but the 26-year-old has been impressive for TUR in their friendly games so far, even doing well in their win against CZE.
Outlook: With Canada’s well of NBA talent depleted, TUR should be the odd-on favorite to top their group. Erden, Dixon, and Batuk, along with Omer Asik and Cedi Osman and recent NBA draftee Furkan Korkmaz, should be this squad’s main men as they advance to the second round and are favored to give the French the most trouble in making it to the Olympics.