Ilyasova, Asik headline candidate list of FIBA EuroBasket 2017 hosts Turkey
Turkey’s top guns Ersan Ilyasova and Omer Asik headline coach Ufuk Sarica's preliminary squad for FIBA EuroBasket 2017, as the tournament co-hosts unveiled their extended 26-player candidate list. Turkey preliminary 26-player squad for FIBA EuroBasket 2017:
Egehan Arna, Furkan Aldemir, Ege Arar, Omer Asik, Dogus Balbay, James Metecan Birsen, Semih Erden, Tolga Gecim, Sinan Guler, Baris Hersek, Ersan Ilyasova, Huseyin Koksal, Furkan Korkmaz, Emircan Kosut, Melih Mahmutoglu, Ali Muhammed, Can Mutaf, Cedi Osman, Sertac Sanli, Kenan Sipahi, Metin Turen, Berk Ugurlu, Okben Ulubay, Mehmet Yagmur, Erkan Veyseloglu, Omer Yurtseven
The 45-year-old playcaller will need both of his NBA veterans ready to roll come end of August in order to have the best shot of living up to the heightened expectations that come with hosting any major tournament.
In spite of being involved in two trades, Ilyasova enjoyed a largely injury-free season, playing in all 82 games. Having started the year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 30-year-old power forward enjoyed some of the best basketball of his career for the Philadelphia 76ers before being dealt to the Atlanta Hawks at the trade deadline.
On the other hand, the 30-year-old Asik struggled to get into the New Orleans Pelicans rotation and finished the season prematurely after a mysterious infection, raising some doubts about his availability for FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
Turkish champions Fenerbahce are the best-represented club among Europe-based players with five names in the squad, with Anadolu Efes, Banvit, Besiktas, Darussafaka, Galatsaray, Istanbul BBSK and Yesilgiresun players also receiving call-ups.
Always a tough team to play in front of their home fans, Turkey snatched up the silver medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010 in Istanbul. They also came runners-up when they hosted FIBA EuroBasket 2001.
The Sarica-coached national team’s training camp will start on July 17 in Istanbul before heading out to Italy, where the bulk of the preparations for the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 will take place.
Over the course of the summer, Turkey will play friendly games against Czech Republic, Italy, Finland, Montenegro, Nigeria, Switzerland, Ukraine, as well as competing in a friendly tournament in Israel.
Turkey will compete in the Istanbul-based Group D in FIBA EuroBasket 2017, which will also host the national teams of Belgium, Great Britain, Latvia, Russia and Serbia at the Fenerbahce Arena.
The Final Phase of the tournament will also be held in the Turkish metropolis, but will move the larger Sinan Erdem Arena.