|20 September 2012|
|Samet Geyik looks forward to playing in an international club competition for the first time after his experience with Turkey at the U16, U18 and U20 European Championships |
It wouldn't be wrong to describe Samet Geyik as a player that's ahead of schedule.
But that is the case for many who have been on the books of Tofas Bursa.
Still in his teens, Geyik has been receiving a lot of playing time in the build-up to the season, one which will see Tofas play in the EuroChallenge Qualifying Round against Rakvere Tarvas.
He is thinking big about this season, and the ones to follow.
"My goal is to be a major player in the national team," he says, "to play with important teams in Europe and to be a major player."
One thing is for sure.
He is benefitting by being a part of the Tofas set-up, which has a tradition of developing young talents.
Geyik, a 2.00m power forward, believes that Tofas is a club that will help him improve all aspects of his game.
"I like penetrating and I think this is one of my strong attributes," he said.
"I have developed my shot and ‘back-to-the-basket' game.
"I want to be a complete player.
"I want to get a lot better in those areas than what I am right now."
Versatility is what every basketball player craves.
"I think it is a great advantage to have more than one weapon in a game," Geyik says.
"Your quality, your level goes up and you can have a good career."
This is why Geyik understands that every minute he's in the gym is important.
"I know that I can develop myself in basketball," he says.
"I have some areas that need working on, but I want to find success with the Turkısh national team and Tofas by developing those aspects of my game."
Geyik, who featured in last year's U18 All Star Game during the EuroBasket, says the EuroChallenge is the ideal stage to grow as a player.
"It is certainly important because there are many players in Europe and I will compete against them," he says.
"I'll learn about my weaknesses and have a chance to improve them.
"The experience I gain is also very important.
"I am helping my team as a young player.
"If we achieve (a goal) together in Europe, this success will also contribute to my development."
Games in the Turkish league will be difficult and challenging as well, but there is something about playing foreign sides that adds spice to a player's career.
"I love European basketball and I want to get used to it," Geyik says.
"I think it is a good start for me to be permanent there."
THE NATIONAL TEAM EXPERIENCE
Having already been a part of Turkey's youth teams has whet Geyik's appetite to face foreign competition at club level.
He has competed at U16, U18 and this year, the U20 European Championship where he averaged 8.9 points and 5.6 rebounds.
The opportunity to wear the Turkish shirt has given him a lot of insight in the game.
"I see the players who play at the same position like me in Europe.
"We will meet up at the level of the first team in coming years. Getting to know their strengths will create advantages for me in the future, and also I gain experience.
"Playing in the national teams gives confidence to the player."
So just how is the team preparing for the EuroChallenge Qualifying Round ties against Rakvere Tarvas?
How much do Geyik and his teammates know about their opponent?
"I have heard they are strong but, of course, we'll have some preparations for them...," he says.
Overall, Geyik has plenty of cause to smile.
He's in a very good place.
"Tofas is a club which puts emphasis on development," he says.
"I found an opportunity here, it has contributed to my progress and continues to do so.
"This year is really important for me and Tofas, because this is a successful club which has a very strong history.
"After a long time, we'll participate in a European Cup and it will be my first experience in Europe at club level.
"I believe this year, we will be really successful in Europe and Turkey."