11/21/09 – Playing time, Turkish travel and the dream of a Euroleague Dunk Contest

Freaknick: Right now, Efes Pilsen is sitting at 1-3 in Group B. What has been the problem thus far?

Sinan Guler: There are several problems that can be discussed. I think the first one is the schedule that we were in. While all of our losses were away, we traveled a lot both in Turkey and in the Euroleague in such a short amount of time. We had a couple road games in Turkey, added on with the road game in Euroleague, and we also had some big rivalry games like Fenerbahce Ulker, and Besiktas Cola Turka in the same period. Also as I mention in one of the upcoming questions, it’s hard to adjust between TBL and Euroleague games, when we have 7 foreigners on the team, and 2 of them have to sit out in the league games. But we are playing better as a team, and I think we showed great energy on the court especially against Malaga on the road. With the schedule as an advantage for us, we should start to perform better in the upcoming games.

FN: What is the attitude around the team now? Have you lost any confidence?

SG: There’s so much confidence in each player, losing that confidence is really hard; I think. As the club,we don’t want to repeat last year’s disappointment [in the Euroleague] so we are aware that we need to work harder on our next games, get out on the court with great energy, and put all we got on the court to get the wins that we need.

FN: All I’m saying is, you played more minutes against Partizan than in any game this season. The result? Your team won. If they play you 40 minutes per game then you’ll never lose again. Agree?

Dunk contest? Yeah, Sinan would be there.SG: I can agree on a certain level. I try to bring a great energy to the team whenever I am on the court, and I have been doing a good job at it. But I also have to add that, I feel a little bit inexperienced in the Euroleague level, since this is only my second year in the Euroleague Arena, and I didn’t get much playing time last year. But I think my confidence will grow in time to perform better for the success of the team if I get the chance.

FN: Tell us how you’re spending your week off of Euroleague?

SG: It has been both an easier and a harder week for us I think. Easier because we got to stay in Istanbul and spend more time with family and friends, and harder because we had two two-a-days back to back, to get in better shape and work on the defense. So it still was a busy week for us, but I can’t complain about it.

FN: What’s the biggest difference between playing in the Turkish league and playing in the Euroleague?Do you prepare any differently?

SG: The biggest difference is definitely the team setup. In the TBL you have to have 2 Turkish players on the court, and when you don’t have the same kind of ruling in Euroleague, your preparation changes also.Your line-up can be different, your match-ups can also change. In our case, Santiago is sitting down in TBL games, and we also need to have one more player to sit down since one team can only have 5 foreign players in the game line-up. That’s for sure a tough decision for coaching staff to make when you have such talented players on the team squad.

FN: Why don’t they have a Euroleague Slam Dunk contest? Are they just afraid that you’ll dominate? Would you support Euroleague Adventures if we started a petition to get one in Paris this year?

Hmm, that’s actually not a bad idea. But I got a question for you in this case: Who would be eligible for the Slam Dunk contest from each country? The winner of the Slam Dunk contest of that country? Or do we pick a player from the Euroleague participant teams? I would support the idea, and I would like to be a part of the contest if I feel healthy.

FN: I’d say you pick 6 guys from the original grouping of 24 Euroleague teams. We’ll perfect the system as the season rolls along and the goal will be to submit an official proposal to the Jordi Bertomeu by Christmas. Let’s get this thing done. Thanks Sinan, and we’ll see you next week.