Tofas has brought in some valuable Turkish Airlines EuroLeague experience with veteran Matt Lojeski as well as Devin Williams, who played last season for Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. Tarik Phillip joined the team to become the main option at point guard, while big man D.J. White will bring power in the paint. Berk Ugurlu was the last addition to the roster and a player who also won the EuroLeague with Fenerbahce Istanbul just two years ago.
The backcourt begins with new signing Phillip, a player with some European experience, but who will make his debut in the EuroCup. He averaged 14.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals in the G-League last season. Baris Ermis, perennially among the EuroCup leaders in assists per minutes played, is back for his third season with Tofas and will be one of the team leaders on and off the court. Veteran sharpshooter Sammy Mejia, who averaged 14.7 points last season, is only 31 points away from a spot among the top 10 scorers in competition history. Ugurlu and Lojeski will provide the experience and talent at shooting guard, especially the latter, coming from six seasons in the EuroLeague with Olympiacos Piraeus and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. Small forward Muhaymin Mustafa extended his contract in the summer and he will be ready to enjoy some more confidence to let him grow as a player, while young Mert Konuk, who made his EuroCup debut last season, will be ready for any chance he can get to show that he can play with the big guys.
In the paint, Tofas will have some interesting options to try to advance to the Top 16. For starters, Williams was a dominant force in the Turkish League (18.1 ppg, 11.5 rpg.) before joining Buducnost. White also had a stellar season in Turkey with 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds and with Williams they will be a force to be reckoned with in the paint. Young Emre Tanisan will make his debut in the EuroCup with Tofas, while big Mushin Yasar will be in his third season with the team and his numbers from his second season more than doubled the ones from his debut year. Finally, Berkan Durmaz will also return for a third year in Tofas. Last season he already became a trusted option with 10 EuroCup appearances and 36 points total, so expect him to be even more comfortable in his role going forward.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Sammy Mejia will be in his seventh 7DAYS EuroCup season and he has always averaged double digits in scoring for a total 14.6 per game over 72 career appearances. Year after year he has become one of the most recognizable EuroCup players and this season he will be expected, again, to lift Tofas to the next level in the Top 16. Mejia is one of 14 players to have ever scored 1,000 points or more in the EuroCup and with a strong regular season he could become one of the top five scorers in competition history. He was also a member of the All-EuroCup First Team in 2014-15. Now Mejia has even more experience and he, his points and his leadership in the locker room will play a key role this season for Tofas Bursa.
Tofas Bursa got stuck in the first phase in its two previous EuroCup appearances, so the team will be striving for a Top 16 appearance, at least. The new names bring in talent and experience, and a big bulk of the roster has adjusted to the level of the competition, so there are not many things that could surprise them. Coach Orhun Ene is also back, having kept a few key players he liked and now he will have the task to bring the newcomers together in a regular-season group that does not look like an impossible task for Tofas. Only time will tell.