Belgian Lions will soon meet “wounded animal” Turkey, a team brimming with talent | European Basketball Championship

Belgian Lions will soon meet “wounded animal” Turkey, a team brimming with talent | European Basketball Championship
Belgian Lions will soon meet “wounded animal” Turkey, a team brimming with talent | European Basketball Championship

Turkey is the current number 16 in the worldwith which it does a bit better than the Belgian Lions (37th).

The fact that the Turks are there at this European Championship has taken a lot of effort. Without its stars from the NBA and the EuroLeague, Turkey would have it very difficult in the preliminaries. It lost its first 3 matches, but was able to qualify for the final tournament thanks to a very difficult 3 out of 3.

Turkey will perform at almost full power at this European Championship. Miami Heat center Omer Yurtseven didn’t feel like the tournament, but for the rest the flamboyant national coach Ergin Ataman – two-time EuroLeague winner – count on all its stars.

forwards Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers) and Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers) have already made their mark in the NBA in recent years, where they both have important roles from the bench.

The direction is in the hands of the naturalized American Shane Larkin, who also has a history in the NBA, but has been one of the best guards in Europe for several seasons now. Larkin guided Turkish top club Anadolu Efes to the final win in the EuroLeague in 2021 and 2022 and is a player who can explode at any moment.

The Turks are also very strong under the signs, with the tandem Sanli-Sengun. The experienced Sertac Sanlic defended the colors of the Spanish top club Barcelona last season.

Alperen Sengun is the diamond of the new Turkish generation. The now 20-year-old center was elected MVP in the Turkish league in 2021 and made the switch to the Houston Rockets in the NBA a year ago. There he showed last season that he has everything to make it in the strongest competition in the world.

Turkey has arguably its strongest squad in years. 21 years ago it took silver at the European Championship in its own country and the ever ambitious national coach Ergin Ataman already announced in the run-up to this tournament that he full for the European title go.

The potential is certainly there for that, but Turkey seems so far not quite up to speed. The win against Montenegro was narrow and the victory against Bulgaria was not entirely convincing either.

In the much-discussed match against Georgia, Turkey lost after 2 extensions. Coach Ataman and forward Korkmaz were excluded, although the duo is back against Belgium.

But the commotion during and after the game has undoubtedly left its mark on the Turks. They even threatened to get out of the tournament for a while. It didn’t come to that in the end, but the loss and the events after the match undoubtedly put the team on edge.

When Turkey as an injured animal enters the arena, it could be a hit for Belgium. They also realize that at the Belgian Lions. “We are going to have very concentrated and motivated Turkish players against us,” said manager Jacques Stas. A warned man is worth two. Hopefully the same goes for a lion.

belgian lions at EK basketball

program group a
01/09 Belgium Georgia 79-76
03/09 Montenegro Belgium 76-70
04/09 Spain Belgium 73-83
06/09 Belgium Turkey 1.30 pm
07/09 Bulgaria Belgium 4.15 pm
standing in group a
m W V +/- ptn
1. Montenegro 3 2 1 +12 5
2. Belgium 3 2 1 +7 5
3. Turkey 3 2 1 +13 5
4. Spain 3 2 1 +43 5
5. Georgia 3 1 2 -24 4
6. Bulgaria 3 0 3 -51 3

The top 4 advance to the 1/8th finals. The European Championship is organized in Germany, Georgia, Italy and the Czech Republic. The Belgian Lions play their group matches in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

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