Turkoglu: "We Have To Be Confident”


15. Hidayet Türkoglu (Turkey)
A brief moment of dissapointment is all a seasoned veteran like Hedo Türkoglu allows himself before confidence in one's strengths is restored 

Hedo Turkoglu has had so many highs and so many lows in his career that all the Turkey captain can do is take each day as it comes at the EuroBasket.

In many ways, the versatile veteran forward has done it all.

He's played in EuroBasket gold-medal games, World Championship title games and even NBA Finals.

So after a deflating 68-64 setback to France on Wednesday in their first Second Round game at EuroBasket 2011, Turkoglu is not surprisingly maintaining an even keel.

"We have to be confident no matter what," the 32-year-old says. "We are not cocky or overconfident.

"As a player and as a team, we've had a good success in the past."

Against France, there was no reason to believe beforehand that Turkey should win, despite their incredible summer of 2010 when in front of the home fans, they were able
to reach the championship game in Istanbul and face the United States.

France didn't lose a game in Group B while Turkey were fortunate just to advance from Group A after an upset defeat to Poland.

But Turkey simply did not execute as well as they could have, and should have against France.

"Sometimes throughout games, you relax and it costs you," Turkoglu says.

"You cannot afford to do that against good teams, especially at this level."

Because Turkoglu and his teammates are out of the media glare of last year when their every move was monitored from Ankara to Istanbul, one might think the pressure isn't as great.

But for a country that is trying to establish its standing as a leading basketball nation in the world, there is pressure.

Turkey want to build on last summer and make a run at the podium.

Turkish fans also want to see their team play at the London Games.

There is also the fact that Turkey's women reached the gold-medal game of their EuroBasket in Poland earlier this summer.

Everyone, be they in Izmir, Istanbul, Ankara or Kayseri, wants the Turks to win medals at play at Olympics.

They must now go up against Germany and Serbia and Turkey will be looking at both as must-win games.

"This is a very difficult group and it's not going to be easy," Turkoglu says.

"We have to play well our next two games and be focused from start to finish."

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