NC State signee Yurtseven: “In Turkey, I couldn’t be a student and an athlete at the same time”

Ömer Faruk Yurtseven will continue his career at NCAA. Yurtseven already announced that he will join to the North Carolina State roster. Before he travel to the USA, we interviewed with him about sport and education. Here we go!

– First of all, U20 European Basketball Championship squad was playing together for years and you just involved that roster at this summer. How was your relationship with the team and coach Ugurata?

The team was known being as a family but when you become a part of the team you can feel that athmosphere. They were playing together for a long time and it was my first time being there together with them but they protected me. They supported me every time on the court and off the court, which was very important for me. My relationship with Omer Ugurata was also very good, who added me to that existed roster. And I tried to be worth to him and his team. It was a good opportunity for me, I tried to represent my country as much as I can. 

– Despite being two years younger for that tournament, you selected to the All Tournament Team and you were the statistic leader of Turkish National Team for many categories. Do you think that you reached your own expectations about the tournament?

I tried to be a part of our game plan and do what coach said to me to do. Everybody tried to do something for the team and I tried to do my best.

– You will play for NC State in NCAA for few years. Totally different culture and basketball life than Turkey… What do you think? What are your expectations and goals?

I didn’t make any detailed plans about my future yet but of course I have some goals and most important one of them is improving my game, every day. I will study in computer engineering department at US and I want to give my everything for my lessons, practices and games.

– After it was known that you will continue your career at NCAA, a lot of colleges showed interest to you. What happened in these days and why you choosed NC State? Can you explain it shortly?

I met with a lot of schools, they came to Turkey to met with me and at the end, I realized that NC State can help me the most with their staff, players and education quality. We had good conversations with other schools also, especially with Syracuse and Utah. I think I took a lot of things from these meetings with other schools. Every school gave me an opportunity to see things from different sides and increased my awereness about the process. I can’t thank them enough.

– As you know, to stay in the roster as a player in the college you must have a good GPA. You were paying attention to your school when you were in Turkey too but are you ready to continue your student and basketball life in much more intense system?

When I was in the Fenerbahçe roster I was going to school between two practices. In addition to that, I was taking additional courses, that’s how I continued to be a student. I will be in a good system there and I think that will make things easier for me. There was a race between me and the time in Turkey. So, I can say that I’m ready for that competition.

– What are your thoughts about NC State? How did they convinced you? What can you say about the coach’s and staff’s attitude about you?

I was good with every coaches I talked but I felt more comfortable when I was talking to coaches of the NC State. They gave me confidence and believed that I can make it.  I’m looking forward to work with them.

– Dennis Smith J.R, form NC State, released a video on Twitter after you announced your decision about the college. How is your relationship with him?

We had a good conversation when I visited there and we have a good relationship now. He will be a Freshman next year so, we will take care of each other.

– The number of Turkish players who are going to USA to play in NCAA are increasing. What can you say about the reasons of that as a player? Low minutes in elite Turkish teams for young players is the biggest factor about these decisions I think?

I don’t think it’s only about low minutes. This summer, I played against older guys than me and I can say that every thing is abvious. In Turkey, I couldn’t be a student and an athlete at the same time, I couldn’t make it. This problem was getting bigger and I started to pay more attention to the offers coming from the colleges. I made some searches and realize, being a student-athlete is the most suitable system for me. I choosed to go in that way and I’m just at the beginning.

– You scored 91 points in a 2016 U18 Turkish Championship game. Let’s talk about that game, you talked with coach Taner before the game right?

In the first quarter, I scored 21 points I think and they tried to stop me with double/tirple teams wherever I got the ball. My teammates realized that and whenever they do this, we scored. Then, they tried to stop the passes with two players near the rim so, I started to play isolation at the key. My teammates giving me the ball at that moment and that gave me confidence, I was really comfortable. When I scored three pointer after a fadeaway, Coach Taner said ‘That takes the biscuit”, I will never forget that. I thank a lot to my coaches, my teammates and my team for that unforgettable game. 

At the end of the interview I want to say something special. Because of their support, I want to say thank you to my family, coaches and staff of Fenerbahçe, the team that I really love. I also want to say thank you to Zeljko Obradovic, who took me to the first team of Fenerbahce. I’m just at the beginning of my career but these people helped me a lot to came where I am. 

*Interview: Onur Coskun (@onursve)


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