Turkey name Sarica coach for FIBA EuroBasket 2017
Turkey have announced that current Besiktas Sompo Japan boss Ufuk Sarica will coach the national team when it serves as one of the host nations for FIBA EuroBasket 2017. The Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) unveiled Sarica on Thursday at a news conference in Istanbul.
Sarica, who has succeeded Ergin Ataman at the helm, will concentrate on his duties with Besiktas for the time being. The Istanbul club is just a game behind Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes in the Turkish standings. Besiktas are also competing in the Basketball Champions League and have already sealed a spot in the Play-Offs.
A former guard who wore the Turkey shirt at the EuroBaskets in 1997 and 1999, Sarica was a teammate of TBF President Hedo Turkoglu at the second of those tournaments.
Turkoglu, one of the biggest basketball stars in the history of the country, called Sarica "an unforgettable game player, personality and sportsman of our national team" at Thursday's news conference. "I'm very proud and excited about this mission," Sarica said.
Expectations will be high because led by Turkoglu, Turkey finished runners-up when Istanbul hosted EuroBasket 2001 and the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010. Sarica is aiming high at that tournament and also wants Turkey to be a force at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China and at the Olympics the following year in Japan.
"Having a medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and being at the 2020 Olympic Games, which are all our dreams, are our biggest goals," he said. At the EuroBasket later this year, Turkey will host Group D and face Russia, Latvia, Serbia, Belgium and Great Britain. The top four sides will progress to the Round of 16.