Ilyasova Looking Ahead To A Summer With Turkey

06 May 2008
This year's EuroBasket 2009 qualifying round games will be hugely important for Turkey as they look to gain valuable experience before hosting the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

The country's rising star, Ersan Ilyasova, is desperate for his team to build some momentum ahead of that big event.

"We'll try to get there (Poland) next year," said Ilyasova, who turns 21 on May 15, to FIBA Europe.

"It's very important for us. I will play this summer. We'll have tough qualifying games against France and the other teams (Ukraine and Belgium)."

The Turks advanced to the quarter-final qualifying round of last year's EuroBasket under Bogdan Tanjevic but never hit their stride and made an early exit from the competition.

"The last EuroBasket wasn't successful for us," Ilyasova said. "We won just two of eight games.

"The World Championship will be in Turkey so we need to qualify (for the next EuroBasket) to get ready for that. We'll see."

Turkey have one of the youngest teams in Europe but one that has a lot of promise.

Ilyasova, who left the Milwaukee Bucks last summer to play for Barcelona, in Spain, is hoping to be a better player this summer after logging an average of 14 minutes per game in the ACB.

"I like my teammates in Spain," he said. "The organisation is unbelievable and it's very close to the NBA."


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