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TUR – Semih’s big summer

BOSTON (2010 FIBA World Championship) - Imagine what must be going through the mind of promising Turkey international Semih Erden right about now.

Less than two months away from playing in the most important tournament of life with the national team at the FIBA World Championship, the 24-year-old has to first sort out his career.

And the next stop in that career looks to be Boston.

The Celtics selected the seven-footer two years ago in the second round of the NBA Draft and judging from the remarks in the Boston Herald by general manager Danny Ainge, seven-footer Erden, who is in Bean Town, is about to become the latest Turk to play in the league.

“We watched him play this year,” Ainge said of Erden, “and the game over there is so different than ours, so there will be an adjustment.

“It’s just a slower game. They don’t have the athletes over there that you do over here, so it’s always unpredictable to know how it translates with different players. But we like his aggressiveness. We like his size, his intensity.”

Erden has had the good fortune to play for Bogdan Tanjevic with Turkey’s national team and at Fenerbahce Ulker.

Tanjevic is one of the most experience and brightest coaches in Europe.

The last two years have been pivotal in Erden’s development.

He looks a much different player to the one that Boston drafted.

“I think he’s just more experienced,” Ainge said.

“He’s developed. He’s gotten a chance to play. He’s put on some weight. But more than anything, he’s got some really good pro experience.

“We’re just hoping he’s a player that we can develop into a contributing player.”

If he needs advice, Erden can turn to some of his countrymen that have played in the league.

Mehmet Okur and Hedo Turkoglu are established pros in North America.

Though Ersan Ilyasova wasn’t an immediate hit with Milwaukee in his first spell with the Bucks, he was this season.

Ilyasova, having spent the previous two years with Barcelona, went back to the Bucks after EuroBasket 2009 and was one of their most important players as they reached the play-offs.

The hype around Erden’s potential move to the NBA is going to add to the soaring expectations for Turkey’s national team this summer.

As the host nation, Turkey will play all of their Preliminary Round games in Ankara before moving on to Istanbul, as long as they have a top-four finish in a Group C that also has Greece, Ivory Coast, Puerto Rico, Russia and China.


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