|"When we start to play, then we'll be really good. Right now, I don't know why we're not there yet" - Hedo Turkoglu|
By Dave Hein
The first rest day at EuroBasket 2013 couldn't have come at a better time for Turkey after the pre-tournament medal contenders dropped their first two games in Group D and find themselves desperately trying to find their "good team" within.
"When we start to play, then we'll be really good. Right now, I don't know why we're not there yet. Hopefully we realise it soon. These two games have put us in a tough situation."
Turkey lost their opener in Koper to Finland 61-55 and now trail the trio of 2-0 teams Italy, Greece and Finland with Russia and Sweden also at 0-2. The group takes the day off on Friday and then the Turks face Greece on Saturday, Sweden on Sunday and Russia on Monday.
About the loss to Italy, Turkoglu added: "We didn't come out playing hard. I thought it would be a shock for us yesterday [against Finland], but it wasn't."
Fellow veteran Sinan Güler said the team had better wake up from their funk - and soon.
"If we're not in the tournament yet, we're too late... It seems like something is blocking us out there. We want to show the toughness and hustle on the court but at one point we go down quickly. And we can't recover from that," Güler tried to explain at the Italy post-game conference.
Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic told reporters he didn't really have a good reason.
"I cannot explain to you. I still have to think about it, to have a better conclusion and more exact," he said.
Tanjevic did come up with one big issue from the Italy game, saying: "The first problem is 90 points. Usually in a game like that it would be 60 or 70 points. That means we missed defence. So the first problem was the defence."
This is definitely not what Turkoglu expected when he said he would return to the national team for his eighth EuroBasket.
"I'm always honored to be part of this organization and representing my country. Hopefully, we can represent it in a better way and win some games," said Turkoglu.
The veteran also addressed the popular notion that Turkey cannot achieve any good results when not hosting the tournament with just two medals internationally at the senior level in the last 12 years - silvers at EuroBasket 2001 and 2010 FIBA World Championship, both in Istanbul.
"This is my eighth European championship. I'm the longest one here. I've been part of it all - the good and the bad. I have the most pain about that. It's hard, but somehow we have to figure out things and do them different than in the past."
The Turks are hoping a day without a game will do the trick.