Sinan Guler has spent most of his career in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, as many as 10 seasons. This may be just his third 7DAYS EuroCup campaign, but Guler has already made history in the competition, and in golden letters. He was Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul's team captain when it won the 2015-16 EuroCup title – the first-ever for a Turkish team – and had the honor to lift the trophy in front of a crazy sellout crowd at Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall. His steal and series-clinching layup in the final minute of the two-way final is also an iconic moment in the competition. Guler is back to the EuroCup with Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, a team that won the competition in 2018. A distinguished member of a great basketball family, Guler will share his thoughts in his EuroCupbasketball.com throughout the 2019-20 season!
First of all, I have to say it is exciting to be back in the EuroCup. I am back for the first time since winning the competition with Galatasaray. My current team, Darussafaka, also returns after lifting the trophy two years ago. So, it is a very special season, and it is good to be back in the EuroCup. It is good to start a new season with exciting goals! Looking back, if you look at personal achievements, I would say that lifting the EuroCup trophy was the best moment for me. I have to point out it was a perfect year for us as a team, as Galatasaray. It was one of the huge achievement and everybody helped – the team, the fans, the coaches, the management. It was the club's top moment in basketball.
"If you look at personal achievements, I would say that lifting the EuroCup trophy was the best moment for me."
I remember that after the game, somebody was asking me about a layup off a steal that I made. I didn't remember at the time, the steal and everything. There are certain moments that I remember vividly, but what I remember the most is the whole season as a team and how we stayed together. It was great and I remember how we were able to ovecome our obstacles as a team. We had some tough moments but stayed together until the end.
Now, I want to help Darussafaka in any way possible after two years in Fenerbahce in which I did whatever it took to improve my team's performance. I want my experience to be valuable for Darussafaka but to play in a healthy, smart way. I am here to help my team and win as much as possible. We are young, exciting team hoping to implement that energy in all aspects of the game.
At the same time, everyone on the team has the opportunity to show his talent this season. Right now, it is too early to point out which player can do what, because we are learning more about ourselves as a team, but I am sure we will have an exciting team that will do a lot of good things on the court whenever possible.
"We will have an exciting team that will do a lot of good things on the court whenever possible."
We have a tough schedule ahead. We play three of our opening four EuroCup games on the road and will try our best. Starting on the road might bring some advantages to understand what kind of season is in front of us. It is going to be a different experience. Every season is different, and now we are talking to each other as teammates about what we can do well on the court and how to get ready for adversities.
Our first opponent will be Cedevita Olimpija, two teams that joined forces and became one new team. I would say we are also a new team because of the many new players we have, especially foreigners coming to Istanbul. Only Jarred Jones has legit European experience, as far as the foreignes go. At the same time, we have other players with good experience in European and Turkish basketball. Having our coach back creates a little bit of stability, but we need to take quick steps on what to do on the court.
I believe that UNICS is the strongest team in our group. I played with Errick McCollum and Alex Tyus and it is going to be great to see them again. McCollum was the EuroCup MVP the season Galatasaray won the competition. Errick and I know each other the best after playing against each other a lot in practice for a full season. He is a dangerous scorer and it is going to be hard to control him. We will do it as much as we can, but he can go to the free throw line very often and create a lot of trouble for opponents.
"We have to be smart, try to be as healthy as possible, and reach our goals carefully."
One way or another, I am sure we will see that the competition has improved in the last three years, while I was away from it. You see teams like Joventut Badalona, Virtus Bologna, UNICS, Lokomotiv Kuban... it is a great competition that we will be able to see. When the games start, we will easily see which teams are the strongest ones in the competition.
As always, we have to set smart goals, and anyone who knows me will confirm I am always about that. The goal for all teams that join the EuroCup is to win the competition and earn a spot to play in the EuroLeague next season. But we have to be smart, try to be as healthy as possible, and reach our goals carefully. Right now, our goal is to go game by game and try to win them one at a time. Like I said, we have a tough schedule. We have to know what we are capable of and show that on the court. We have to try to qualify to the Top 16, that is the first approach to everything that we want to do.
Since it is my first blog in the EuroCup this season, I want to wish all teams good luck in the competition. Every beginning is exciting and everybody wants to do their best. First of all, I hope that everyone will be healthy and may the best team win!