|25 June 2009|
When Gulsah Gumusay runs onto the court in Gdynia, Poland, on July 9, it won't be the first time she's played in a top-notch basketball competition this summer.
The 1.80m forward recently competed with the senior team at the EuroBasket Women in Latvia.
That experience is sure to come in handy as Gumusay and Turkey take aim at a podium finish at the U20 European Championship for Women in Gdynia.
Gumusay, who averaged 12.3 minutes per game in Latvia where Turkey reached the Qualifying Round and narrowly missed out on a place in the Quarter-Finals, answered Jeff Taylor's questions for FIBA Europe.
FIBA Europe: Gulsah, how important is it for you to represent your country in basketball? What is your mindset when wearing the national team jersey?
Gulsay: Basketball is one of the best sports in the whole world, including Turkey. And every day, Turkish basketball grows and makes itself better. We all know that Turkish people are so emotional and I think it's very important for us to be responsible on the court.
FIBA Europe: Turkey hosted the EuroBasket Women in 2005. Do you remember this event and if so, did it increase your appetite to play professional basketball?
Gulsay: Of course I remember it. I was already playing as a professional for Botas but I was too young to play for the senior national team. I was also playing for the U16 team that year. When I started playing basketball, I already had that desire but seeing them in Turkey made me desire it even more. And one of my goals was to play for them. I finally reached that goal this year. It was a really big experience for me.
FIBA Europe: If you could play like any other player, whether it is someone from Turkey or another country, who would it be and why?
Gulsay: Well I can't give you any names but I always want to play with players who can understand me on the court, can help me, who work hard and work for the best.
FIBA Europe: Do you have any other interests outside basketball, or is that a silly question since you are fully focused on the sport right now?
Gulsay: I have been playing basketball for 10 years and I want play for a long time. For now, I only think about me playing at this moment and when I am done playing, I still want to be a part of Turkish basketball because I love basketball so much.
FIBA Europe: What do you expect to happen for the U20 team this summer? Have you played with your teammates before, and will it be a success?
Gulsay: We have been practicing really hard to be successful. I have played with some of them before but we all know each other anyways. First of all, we want to pass the first round and then wait for the second group. We have such talented players on our team and I believe that if we can realize how powerful we are, it would be so easier for us to be successful.
FIBA Europe: Thanks a lot, Gulsah. We'll see you in Poland.