By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
Anadolu Efes shooting guard and ELA old timer Sinan Guler stopped by for a little Q&A after missing the Final Four by a game. We talked about Olympiacos’ rambunctious fans, the All-Euroleague selections and compared Jamon Lucas’ miraculous tip-in to Kerem Tunceri’s lay-up to beat Serbia in the 2010 Worlds.
Euroleague Adventures: There’s been a lot of talk about how the wild the fans were in your series, and how wild they always are. As a player, do you feel that’s excessive, do you mind? Or are you down with a little bit of ruckus?
Sinan Guler: Well I’m used to excessive hooligans myself here in Turkey. We have similar fans, and I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff here that compares to Greece. Not being main rivals like Panathinaikos-Olympiacos or a Galatasaray-Fenerbahçe kind of thing, we always get lucky out of that. We get less of what they usually see in those terms. But I think the rivalry between Turks and Greeks riled them up a little bit. And other than that until the part where they started throwing little small ‘crackers or…whatever, making sounds, up to the point I think everything was great, but then everybody was thinking ‘OK, maybe this is getting a bit too crazy.’
ELA: Did you get hit by anything yourself?
Guler: No, nothing got onto the court but they pretty much had sound bombs. Making some crazy sounds. It comes to the point where it’s a part of sports. I know American sports aren’t accustomed to that compared to Europe. But I’ve seen crazy shit, to be honest, in Europe. In soccer and in basketball, I’ve seen pretty much everything, so I’m used to it. I can say that.
ELA: I’m not out there, so I’m not qualified to talk. But I kind of like it. I think it’s what makes Euroleague, Euroleague.
Guler: The main thing is for that–I kind of missed out on the part where you asked if I feed off of it–yes, I do feed off of it. I like the way the fans interact with the game. I think the main difference between European sorts and American sports is Americans need some kind of incentive outside of what happens on the court. Especially in the NBA, it’s like they want to listen to something to participate in the game. In Europe, fans do that for you. Especially the fans of teams ike Olympaicos, Partizan, I don’t know, the three big clubs in Turkey (Galatasaray, Fenerbaçe Ülker, and Besiktas), when they do something, they know what they’re doing. They know to affect the game, and I’ve seen that enough–numerous times. It’s an amazing effect, what they can do. It’s similar to what college games are all about in the United States.
ELA: Obviously home court was huge in your series with Olympiacos. Also huge back in 2010 when y’all were at the World Championships. Compare these shots for me: Kerem Tunceri’s in 2010 to beat Serbia and advance to the finals:
…and Jamon Lucas’ tip to beat Olympiacos in game four:
Guler: When you look at it, those shots helped me play the most exciting games of my career in national level and club level so far. That’s the great comparison. Other than that, Jamon’s shot was a miracle to be honest, when you watch it again and again and again. His big hands just make everything possible and brought us the fifth game.
But I don’t think—I think I was even more, like—I can’t even explain the excitement I had in 2010 when Captain laid it up and we went to the final to play the United States.
ELA: So you were out there, Tunceri was out there and Dusko Savanovic. All y’all were out there for both those shots, right?
Guler: Yes, yes, yes. Yes. And we still give a lot of crap to Savanovic everyday for that. Savanovic is pretty much my best friend on the team right now, and we talk about that game a lot. He uh, he gets pretty pissed about it.
ELA: You’ve been on some teams the past couple years that folks have talked about, even said you could maybe make a run at the playoffs and be dangerous if you were healthy. It never really happened. What’s the biggest difference between those teams you played on and this Efes team that won seven straight in the Top 16 and came a game short of the Final Four?
Guler: The main thing is we’re more together. We know what to do and we have enough players on the court that keep the wheels turning. For example, I think Jamon Lucas, his approach to the game and his attitude to the game is unbelievable. His defensive talent and his defensive toughness I think helped us a lot to creat synergy throughout and play similar defense. It’s like when I first came to Efes, my first year and we became the Turkish champions. If you find three, four good guys who play good defense and show what to do on the court then kind of like a virus, it moves around to the other players. It’s contagious.
ELA: My last question here. The All-Euroleague selections have come out and there’s no Efes representation. What do you think about that?
Guler: I think if we were in the Final Four that would be a different question. Did they already announce both teams?
I mean those are ten great people. Again, I think if we were in the Final Four then for sure Jamon would be there. And of course Jordan Farmar, too. But I think it’s a fair choice at this point, and hopefully next year we’ll get to the Final Four and we’ll have some players on there also.