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Former NBA player Mehmet Okur eyes success in coaching career

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Dec 01, 2021 - 02:01 AM

ISTANBUL (AA) – Former NBA player Mehmet Okur is hoping to achieve success in a coaching career.

The only Turkish basketballer to win an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, Okur previously played for clubs including Oyak Renault, TOFAS and Anadolu Efes.

After playing for the Pistons between 2002 and 2004, he played for the Utah Jazz (2004-2011) and the New Jersey Nets (2011-2012) in his 10-year NBA career.

In 2007, he made history when he became the first Turkish All-Star player.

After his retirement from active basketball in 2012 at the age of 33, Okur was named as an ambassador for the Utah Jazz from 2014 to 2016.

In September 2016, he agreed to become a player development coach for the Phoenix Suns.

Okur, who currently resides in the US and has been working in the technical team of the Turkish National Team for a while, gave an exclusive interview to Anadolu Agency.

Stating that he is happy to share his experience with national team players, he said: “I think I will learn a lot from Orhun Ene and his squad in the Turkish national basketball team. We have a very good environment and a good organization here.”

Noting that he wanted to add the experience he gained from this job to his basketball coaching CV, Okur said “my goal and dream is to be a head coach in the NBA or a club in Europe.”

‘We must play like a tournament team’

Emphasizing that the Turkish national basketball team has a good generation, Okur said they should play like a tournament team.

“We have to fight. On the way to becoming a tournament team, a friendly match should be no different from a European or a World Championship match. We need to have that mentality.”

‘All our players in NBA develop well’

Okur said Turkish national players playing in the NBA, including Cedi Osman, Furkan Korkmaz, Alperen Sengun and Omer Faruk Yurtseven, have improved themselves well.

“Despite being only 19, Alperen is making the best use of the time he has taken. Cedi has got a good start at the moment. Despite coming from the bench, he is showing a positive performance. Furkan and Omer take minutes and try to make the most of it. They are all on the right track.” Okur said.

*Writing by Selcuk Bugra Gokalp

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