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Orhun-14-11-2012
Orhun Ene
14/11/2012

ISTANBUL (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - There are many qualities that endear players, the Turkish Basketball Federation and fans to Orhun Ene.

Chief among them is his honesty.

The coach of Banvit in the Turkish top flight, Ene also leads the club in the Eurocup.

The 45-year-old’s honest, frank approach to coaching was there for all to see after Ene’s side lost in a European game at Valencia last week.

Banvit players picked up three technical fouls and Ene might have railed against the referees after the final buzzer.

When asked about the technicals, which had contributed to Banvit's 88-78 defeat, he said to FIBA.com: “You have to understand one thing. This is real life, a totally different situation to the local league. We have to adapt.

"We have to be smart and understand all the things that happen on the court, the opponents, the atmosphere, the referees, and we have to take the right reaction.

"We can take one technical, but we can't take two more after that with the same type of mistakes."

Ene was not angry, but realistic.

“We are young, newcomers to the Eurocup the last few years, but to understand this you need experience,” he said, “not only on the players side and the coach's side, but the club side.”

The national team

Not that long ago, Ene was in the high-pressure environment of coaching Turkey’s national team.

Ene played for a long time in Turkey’s national team, with EuroBasket 2001 his last run.

He went out on a high, helping the team capture a silver medal in Istanbul.

In the years to follow, he coached national teams of different age groups for Turkey and also served as an assistant to Turkey senior team coach Bogdan Tanjevic.

After Tanjevic stepped down following Turkey's silver-medal success at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, the coach and federation believed Ene was the best person to lead the national team.

He took a talented side to EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania but the team came up short of the Quarter-Finals and fell out of contention for a spot at the London Games.

Ene and the federation eventually decided to part ways, thus allowing him to focus on his job as coach of Banvit, a position he’d taken on in 2009.

Tanjevic came back and coached the team this past summer in the EuroBasket Qualification Round.

Will Ene lead the national team again?

It's certainly something that he would like to do.

"Yes, but the timing is very important for these things," he said.

"I have worked for many years in the national team and I know how it's important for the Turkish people.

"Also, it's totally different type of approach with the national team situation in Turkey.

"I gained respect as a player in the national team, and as an assistant coach and I took a lot of things.

"It helped me in my coaching life, in my first steps.

"And I hope that I can deserve this job one more time in the future.

"But now, we at Banvit have to be successful in the Turkish league and Eurocup games.

"But why not for the future?"

When asked about the specifics on his departure as national team coach, Ene said: "First of all, we didn't reach our goal of the last European Championship tournament.

"Also, the people who had given me this job had a different type of organization they are thinking about.

"We talked with each other and agreed that most of all, the success of the national team is more important than anything and we agreed and they are looking at a different structure for national team success and we stopped working with each other."

Ene stressed that he left on good terms, and repeated that leading the national team in the future is something he would consider.

"If I deserve it, and they give me this job one more time, why not?" he said.

"Because I still love these people and I respect them.

"My team is the national team, when I was a player, and after, I started coaching there.

"When I'm ready, but it's important that the people give you this opportunity and you don't know when it will happen."

Turkey’s future

Ene does have a lot of insight into what the possibilities are for Turkey’s national team.

This year, with most of the veterans away from the set-up, the country struggled in the EuroBasket Qualification Round and almost failed to reach EuroBasket 2013.

They won their last game at home against the Czech Republic and punched their ticket to the Final Round.

“For sure, we have very good young players but also experienced players,” Ene said.

“I'm sure that in the new organization, they are going to make a stronger and better team than was in this elimination (EuroBasket Qualification Round) group.

“Everything will be much better once they call the experienced players with the young guys and I think it will be a good combination with the young and experienced players.”

As the boss of Banvit, Ene is getting a chance to coach a couple of youngsters that featured in the national squad this year in Safek Edge and Izzet Turkyilmaz.

“Yes, they have been with me for three years,” Ene said.

“I'm very happy, also, that they have been in the Turkish national team but they also have to improve their basketball a lot to not just be for a short period in the national team, and they need time.

“But they are working a lot and I hope they can improve and can be starters of the national team in the future.”

Player backing

Ene is a player’s coach.

Sammy Mejia is one of his key men at Banvit, one who has competed in the Euroleague.

“He's a great coach,” Mejia said to FIBA.com.

“He was a high level player so he understands what it takes and I have nothing but the highest respect for him.

“We try to play hard for him and to show ourselves good just to make him happy.”

Once Mejia started to talk about Ene, he didn’t stop.

“We love our coach and he keeps us together,” he said.

“He's a great coach and I love playing for him.

“He motivates me, just to say what kind of guy he is, not only on the court but off the court.

“He's a great person, speaks to us off the court and once the game is done, the game is done and it's on to the next one.

“I can't say anything bad about him.”

Former Turkey guard Serkan Erdogan is in the Banvit squad as well.

He also had praise, which suggests the chances are good that one day, Ene will be back in charge of the national team.

“Why not?” Erdogan said to FIBA.com.

“He's a young coach and a talented coach and he's got a great future ahead of him.”

FIBA

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