By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
Turkish Basketball team's 22-year-old star Cedi Osman, who is currently playing for Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association, is looking forward to represent his country.
In an interview with International Basketball Federation (FIBA) published on Tuesday, Osman talked about the excitement he felt during EuroBasket 2017, where Turkey competed with its youngsters.
Per game, he averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3.8 assists for his team in EuroBasket 2017 journey in Istanbul.
"Our supporters in Istanbul were spectacular," he said, adding: "They were with us in every game no matter if we won or lost. In addition, I think we showed that we have the fighting spirit in the games… "
Due to his tight schedule with the NBA, he could not represent Turkey in group matches against Ukraine and Latvia in World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers back in November 2017, but he watched Turkey’s performance in those games.
"To start with victories over Latvia in Bursa and Ukraine in an away game was a very good start in terms of leaving our mark in our group," Osman said. "But, even more important than that, it made our team's motivation go up in the beginning of the qualifiers."
"It was a fact that we had to defeat Ukraine in our away game to make the win at home against Latvia meaningful," he added.
He also talked about the playing style of Turkish national basketball team, highlighting the need to fight until the last ball.
"The philosophy of the Turkish national team is to fight until the last ball, regardless of what game we are playing. We managed to win in Bursa with also the support of our fantastic supporters and did the same in Kiev with a good play.
"Fighting well as a team, acting together on both offense and defense, are the most important tools to succeed," he said. "Statistically, there were some players that stood out in both games, but I believe our success came with good teamwork in those two games."
Turkey will play against Ukraine on June 28 and against Sweden on July 1, but Osman may not play for his country again due to tough match schedule in the NBA.
"I have to comply with my game programs," he said. "I hope we'll go to the last game in the NBA this year. Of course this means that I will spend the whole of June here (Cleveland). However, if there are no health problems, and if the conditions are appropriate, wearing a national jersey is always an honor for me.
"When you wear that jersey, it gives you a huge responsibility and great excitement to feel that millions of people are backing you," Osman added.