|If you need to confide in someone, Merve Aydin is the ideal person to talk to - The Turkey guard not only knows how to keep a secret, she'll also prepare a delicious dish of 'Ispanakli Bosnak Boregi' to make you feel better|
Turkey are looking like potential podium contenders at the U18 European Championship Women and much of that is down to the direction of playmaker Merve Aydin, who we threw under the spotlight of our Half-Court Press.
The point guard, who scored 18 points in the overtime success against Russia on day one, has impressed with her leadership in what looks to be a potent backcourt partnership with team-mate Pelin Bilgic.
However, this time Aydin must go it alone and take on the questions posed by FIBAEurope.com.
FE.com: What's your first basketball memory?
Merve Aydin: I was ten years old. On the day of the school team try-outs, I was without any basketball shoes because my mother was to bring a new pair but she was late and I began to worry that she couldn't bring them on time! I was in the last participants and there were still no shoes. I was almost crying and when I started to think that everything was over, she appeared at the door with the shoes in her hand. This is not only the first memory of my basketball life, it's also the cornerstone of my life!
If you were at the Olympics but not as a basketball player, which other sport do you think it would be fun to win a gold medal in?
I think I would want to be a track and field athlete, because most of my friends say that I can run for a long time and if I hadn't got into basketball, I could be a successful runner.
If you could only listen to one song again for the rest of your life what would it be?
It would be ‘Paradise' by Coldplay
Which Turkish senior team player do you admire the most and why?
I admire Birsel Vardarli. I think she is the best guard in Europe. She plays so elegantly. She has creativity and I enjoy it when I watch her.
Who is the most sensible of your team-mates and who is the craziest and why?
My most sensible team-mate is Hulya Coklar because she always makes the right decision. My craziest team-mate is Fahriye Bayraktar because she loves to laugh and to make us all laugh. That's why she makes funny and crazy jokes.
Can you cook? If you were cooking a meal for the coach what would it be?
It would be a Turkish dish, "Ispanakli Bosnak Boregi" (a spinach-filled light pastry dish) because it's his favourite but I would prefer to serve this meal after games when we made him angry!
What's your best quality as a player and as a person and what is the worst?
I think eagerness and desire are my best qualities as a player and also keeping secrets is my best quality as a person - that means I am not a gossip girl (she laughs). Being emotional is my worst quality both as a player and a person.
What is the best basketball game you have played in and why?
My last high school game. We played against the defending champions and nobody thought that we would win but we won by two points! I scored 34 points in the game and that's what makes it my best game.
What are your favourite other sports and which teams do you follow?
Volleyball, football and tennis are my favourite sports after basketball. I follow Fenerbahce's volleyball and football teams.
What are the most important things for a basketball player to have?
I think discipline and desire are the most important things for any basketball player. If you are talented and working hard then that will be enough to reach the top level but your discipline and desire make you stay there.
There's only two seconds on the shot clock, do you pass or shoot?
It depends. If I am the right person for it, I will shoot but if I'm not, I will pass to whoever is more likely to make a score.