Future stars of Turkey: 2002 to 2004

After a run of successful Turkish generations (Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur, Ersan Ilyasova and Ömer Aşık), Turkey had a new “golden generation” in the early 2010s that didn’t reach the success of the previous one. In the 2020s, Turkey can be a lot more optimistic in this regard, because of a high number of versatile players. So, who are they?

Berke Büyüktuncel – 2004 – F

I think Berke Büyüktuncel is the highest ceiling prospect in Turkey. He can do a little bit of everything on the offense, his athleticism is interesting and his defensive effort and skill-set are high in my opinion. He hasn’t played many games at the top levels yet, but I think what he has shown so far is interesting.

Büyüktuncel is impressive on the open floor and good in half-court offense with killer scoring instincts. As a primary scorer, Büyüktuncel gives the right dribble fake and quickly dribbles to the left, while using his vertical pop in his one-foot layup, he knows how to use the momentum at the rim. I can’t say that he always plays well around the rim, but he knows how to find buckets. I think Büyüktuncel is an excellent finisher in traffic. Despite his lack of power, his BBIQ works against PFs and Cs.

As a shooter, not consistent yet but showed good flashes on the perimeter. Solid form but lack of strength, experience hurt him here in my opinion. Still developing as a passer. Showed some flashes as a drive-and-disher but that’s it. Even his read & react passing is not good at the moment. Needs to learn craftiness because he has gravity potential, creates spacing for others.

On the defensive end, Büyüktuncel plays with high-effort. His BBIQ to read his opponent’s offense, reaction time, quick hands and his defensive momentum make him a good stealer and pesky defender on one-on-on offense in my opinion. Can guard multiple positions (except quickest PGs) with quick hands and lateral movement. However, I have some question marks about his off ball defense because he sometimes makes unnecessary help defense, he needs to be more balanced in this regard.

Yiğit Hamza Mestoğlu – 2004 – PF/C

I think Yiğit Hamza Mestoğlu is the best under the radar prospect in Turkey. I have three very simple reasons for this: he can dribble on the full court, he can consistently shoot mid-range and 3-points shots, and he can defend multiple positions. Mestoğlu has good size for Turkish standards in my opinion. His upper body is filling up with muscle. His lower body is not too quick, but quick hips, average vertical pop and footwork tricks make up for his lack of elite quickness.

His game mostly revolves around spotting up for the 3-point/2-point shots and playing as a post-up scorer. He has a pretty nice solid shooting form; almost great release, quick shot pocket set-up and good arc. He also showed that he can play as a finisher running the floor, rolling to the rim and catching lobs. I think he can do a little bit of everything on the offensive end.

However, his below average physical tools create a huge question mark in my mind about his NBA future. Needs to improve on this. Defensively, his plus 3-4 wingspan and general length work well. He is not a great rim protector or shot blocker but he knows how to slide around the perimeter, switch to forwards, run to passing lanes, deflections, and guarding the shooters. His active hands, hand-eye coordination and BBIQ make him a multiple position defender in my opinion. However, closeout defense, post-up defense, one-on-one defense and rebounding are his cons on the defensive end in my opinion.

Eray Büyükcangaz – 2004 – G

Standing 6-foot-6 with a near 6-foot-9 wingspan and well-developed frame, Eray Büyükcangaz has great positional size and length for a 16-year-old point guard, in my opinion. He is a great athlete both smoothly and explosively. Has great vertical pop in my opinion, also, his lateral movement and linear quickness are notable.

A capable driver, Büyükcangaz can finish at the rim but lack of elite strength hurt his finishing through contact. He mainly scores his buckets on drives using a combination of quickness, defensive ballhandling, good size, long strides, change direction ability, soft touch, and decision-making in my opinion. As a shooter, Büyükcangaz is not a consistent shooter for now but has showed that he can create off the dribble or shooting of the catch. Büyükcangaz has room to polish his shooting form as the ball doesn’t come out smoothly. As a handler and passer, Büyükcangaz showed some crafty and shifty passes but at the end of the day, I think he is a classic read-and-react passer. Has great arsenal on the offensive end but lack of feel for the game, consistency hurt his individual scoring potential in my opinion.

I think Eray Büyükcangaz is not a hard-nosed defender, not a great high-motor, he usually relies on his length, active hands, court vision, and hard stance. He comes up with steals and deflections. Not switchable, he sometimes sleeps on off the ball motions.

Overall, I think Eray Büyükcangaz has intriguing potential to be a good Euroleague player but he has to be more consistent on his offensive game and needs good motor on the defensive end.

Ege Demir/David Ezekiel Itunge – 2004 – C

Standing 6-foot-9 with a near 7-foot-3 wingspan and strong frame, Ege Demir has excellent size and frame for a 16-year-old basketball player in my opinion. But unfortunately, I could only watch part of one of his games. Broadcast links have been removed. I can only briefly say the following. On the offensive end, Ege is a great catch-and-finish scorer. Also, his explosive game style makes him a great lob target in my opinion. King of the rebound, Demir comes up a lot of shot-blocking, rim protection, and sliding on the perimeter on the defensive end. But I can’t say more. We need more tape.

Adem Bona – 2003 – PF/C

Standing 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Adem Bona has impressive size for his age. Making dozens of highlight dunks, Bona is a great athlete both laterally and vertically in my opinion. Quick footwork, smooth hip turns, good balance on core strength. Long arms, wide shoulders, and strong lower body. At the end of the day has room to get stronger but for his age, not too bad physically. I think he is a monster around the basket.

Adem Bona does a bit of everything on the offensive end: Creating one-on-one in the post, his effort level changing ends, moving off the ball, finishing lobs, crashing the glass. He even scores off of unorthodox dribbles; he’s 6-foot-9 but can dribble both low and high on average levels, his style is interesting, he doesn’t have great balance but somehow dribbles with hesitation. Scoring with great efficiency and his ability to finish through contact is his ninth symphony. Can play pick-and-roll with good rolling timing in my opinion. Has soft touch too and he’s a great leaper but needs to improve his post game.

In terms of shooting, Bona showed some flashes around the perimeter but has a lot of room to get better. This will be the subject of my detailed report. Needs balance on the offensive end. I mean, he has a good BBIQ but a lot of times uses his dribbles and explosiveness unnecessary.

In my opinion, Adem Bona is still figuring out how to maximize his tools defensively, but even so, makes an impact as a rim protector and showed impressive mobility sliding his feet on the perimeter for his size and age. Using his physicality more aggressively on rebounding the ball, Bona can dribble in transitions after the grab thanks to his average handling, wide court vision, general awareness, and quickness.

Batın Tuna – 2003 – G

Batın Tuna possesses good size at 6-foot-7 with a strong upper body. He has long and strong arms, good core and chest muscles, need width on his shoulders. For his lower body, has good hip turns, quick footwork, and pretty nice vertical pop and lateral movement for his age in my opinion. He needs to add gain weight with muscles but for now, not too bad.

In my opinion, Batın Tuna’s playing style is that of a more traditional point guard but his length makes him a special point guard. Batın is not a good slasher and can’t create his shot around the 3-pointers line but he is more than just a pick-and-roll handler or something. Thanks to his combination of crafty handling and length, Batın uses his body well to maintain possession of the ball and limit turnovers, after that, he can finishes possessions with good layup/floater package: quick first step, change of direction ability both on the ground and in the air, reverse if he needs, knows how to use the rim for a bucket with consistency. Tuna is not a primary playmaker, just reads and reacts well but he’s showed some flashes on that. Like at the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championship, he made a lot of crafty assists with wide court vision and drive & dish skill.

He can play above the rim, runs transition well and after that run, he can finish possessions with huge aggressiveness. A good athlete has great arsenal for offense but the end of the day needs to work on his all three levels shots. Tuna has solid lateral quickness when he maintains a low defensive stance in my opinion. Thanks to his length and good BBIQ, he can guard multiple positions consistently. He is not a good off-ball defender, also does some timing mistakes in pick-and-roll situations. However, he is just 17 y/o and has a lot of time to be better. In my opinion, his amazing work ethic will help him do it.

Koralp Türk – 2003 – F

Standing 6-foot-9 with around a 7-foot wingspan and a strong frame, Koralp Türk has solid dimensions for a big man in my opinion. Long upper body but needs to lose some kilos from his lower body, he currently has more strength than quickness. I don’t think Türk is an athlete who will make a lot of highlight dunks; his athleticism package is based on lob targets, physical fight, and average vertical pop around the basket.

Koralp does the majority of his scoring around the basket physically and aggressively but also shows good flashes creating one-on-one in the post. In my observation, he is more effective in the left post zone than the right post zone. The ability to finish and create contact makes him an effective painted area player on the offensive end. He is not a great roller and cutter but he does have an off-ball motion mentality. Koralp knows how to create space for others. When he did it, he runs the weak-side of the court well in my opinion. Thanks to his strength and physical fight, KT is good in back to the basket and staying active inside off the ball. I think he should improve his shooting. Showed some flashes on that but too low and inconsistent.

His shooting mechanics look good. KT can rotate well and has a good arc (great moves from low to high) but needs mentality, footwork, timing, quickness, and decision-making in his shooting in my opinion.

Possessing the length, mobility, and timing to offer some rim protection, Türk is a good painted area player on the defensive end. He sees things well and reacts with physicality. He is not a great pick-and-roll defender but has the potential to stop his opponent’s dribble and contest shots. Needs a bigger arsenal on his defensive package, in my opinion, he is not a great rim protector and does not have great eye-hand coordination. Türk needs to improve on the defensive end in general.

Hasan Efe Uzun – 2003 – SG

Standing 6-foot-2 with an improving 180-pound frame and near 6-foot-4 wingspan, Hasan Efe Uzun has good size and frame for his age and position in my opinion. I think his upper body is strong, especially his arms arms, he has stiff core muscles, and wide shoulders. In his lower body, he has quick footwork, average vertical pop, his good linear and lateral movements stand out in my opinion. He shows some flashes of smooth athleticism but not consistently. He is not an explosive athlete, lack of elite vertical pop and feel for the game hurt his stock here.

A well-rounded lead guard, Uzun is a primary handler and passer, and a secondary scorer in my opinion. He excels at maintaining a live dribble in isolation or pick and roll situations. Uzun has a good passing package — he sees things early and reacts well, also showing some crafty moves like drive-and-dish, kick out, no look, and long lobs. His great protective ballhandling ability makes him quick and his ability to rise and fire accurately out of a variety of situations helps him keep the intensity on opposing defender for a team that thrived under his leadership.

His refined footwork allows him to create his jumper and also helps him in the paint where he can maneuver up and under to finish around the basket. As a shooter, he is not a great creator for himself but an average spot-up shooter in my opinion. Uzun has to learn play as a cutter. Lack of killer instincts scoring the ball and high feel for the game hurt him on the offensive end in my opinion. Also, lack of elite physical tools hurt his floaters and finishes around the rim.

Hasan is a high-motor defender who works hard to fight over on ball screens. At times, Uzun struggles to keep up against quicker point guards. I would like to see more from him around the perimeter. His BBIQ, reaction, timing, and eye-hand coordination may help him develop as a defender. As an off-ball defender, Hasan runs around the screen well but he needs to improve his balance. Sometimes, he does unnecessary help defense.

I think Uzun has a good ceiling around the EuroCup level.

Acar Şen – 2003 – SG/SF

Standing 6-foot-4 with strong upper body for his size, Acar Şen’s game mostly revolves around spotting up for the 3-pointer or filling the lanes in transition looking for easy buckets. Şen has some problems with finishing at the rim. He is not a great finisher as a primary scorer but in his team, he usually takes the primary shooter and cutter load.

With a great shooting mentality and self-confidence, AŞ’s shooting form is smooth with catch-and-release ability, quickness, timing, and footwork. He is not great at creating his own shot but has showed some flashes there, shooting off the dribble with a nice mid-range pull up. If he can increase his ability to create shots, he will be one of the best fits for the modern game, in my opinion.

On the defensive end, Şen needs to add weapons to his arsenal. He should learn to play pick-and-roll consistently and be more active in transition. He is active and has good BBIQ on the defensive end, showing a good stance to go along with nice footwork and quick hands. Şen sees things and plays passing lanes, coming up with a lot of deflections. He needs to improve on switches, off-ball defenses, and general awarenesses.

Ömer Ege Peksarı – 2003 – G

Standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and a lanky frame that is still filling out, Ömer Ege Peksarı is a point guard who plays with high IQ. An intelligent offensive player who has more potential as a primary handler and passer than primary scorer and shooter, Peksarı’s individual scoring capacity is based on his soft-touch floaters with a strong first step, change of direction ability on the ground, and smooth athleticism. He showed some good flashes on his ability to create his own shot as well as intriguing moments as a catch-and-scorer but he’s not consistent here. Lack of elite strength, vertical pop, and release hurt his shooting form in my opinion. He has a solid repertoire of mid-range, floaters, and runners but he is not a scorer who has a great feeling for the game.

Proving to be a dazzling distributor keeping the ball moving in an effective fashion and setting the table for his teammates. I think Ömer is a quick decision-maker, has great court vision and he is a clearly protective ballhandler.

On the defensive end, he plays very actively with quick hands, good body coordination, and game reading skills. He needs to add strength to be better at guarding stronger players down the lane and to keep improving his defensive presence on the floor in my opinion.

Overall, I don’t think he can be a good NBA or Euroleague player. Because lack of athleticism, shooting, and scoring package hurt his stock too much. However, as a primary handler and passer, Peksarı has the potential to be a good rotation player at the EuroCup level in my opinion.

Bora Satır – 2002 – G

Stanging 6-foot-1 with a skinny frame, Bora Satır has a lot of room to get stronger in my opinion. As an athlete around the rim, Satır has pretty impressive fluidity and a strong first step with nice change of direction ability, in my opinion. I think Satır has a versatile arsenal on the offensive end that mixes up going to the basket using shifty hesitation dribbles and change of pace with shooting from mid-range and the 3-point line.

He is not a great deep range shooter yet but has potential. So far, Satır showed that he has nice elevation, timing, and footwork on his 3-point shots. But he needs strength and fluidity. As a mid-range creator, he is nearly perfect.

A primary ballhandler who is responsive with good court vision, and speed, the Turkish prospect operates pick-and-roll well. He sees things early and gives great crafty passes to teammates around the rim.

Satır is a good defender off the ball. Thanks to his BBIQ and good lateral movement, he comes up with a lot of deflections but he has to get stronger to guard all positions consistently on the ball, in my opinion.

Tibet Görener – 2002 – SG

I think Tibet Görener possesses good size for an 18 years-old small forward standing 6-foot-8 to go along with strong upper body, long arms, average shoulders. Although he lacks strength in the lower body, he is very quick.

Creating his own shot generally out of isolation and pick-and-roll situations, he hunts buckets in transition. One of the best shooters in his class, Görener takes catch-and-shoot shots with the fearlessness to rise and fire in spot-ups. He can shoot in CnS or movement situations with good set point, quick footwork, and good BBIQ, despite questionable vertical pop.

Around the painted area, Tibet does a good job as a cutter. Lack of elite athleticism and finishing ability around the rim hurt his efficiency on the offensive end, but his BBIQ, shooting threat, manipulative cutting (burst, body-eye fakes, soft-touch after take the ball, creating spacing for himself with using the screens) are good in my opinion. I think Görener is a reliable handler, he showed some flashes on momentum ballhandling, but not a good passer at all. He has a lot of room to grow on that in my opinion.

On the defensive end, he brings energy and instincts to the table. I think that Görener is a pesky off ball defender who shows the ability to sees things early and reacts well with good body coordination, eye-hand harmony, lateral movement, and team awareness. Covering a lot of ground and making some dazzling hustle plays, Görener is not a defensive playmaker or rim protector but not bad on the defensive end in my opinion. I think he has to improve on switches, on the ball activeness, and pick-and-roll situations. One summary thing before my detailed report, Tibet showed some flashes as a critical moment guy on the offensive end.

Furkan Haltalı – 2002 – C

Standing 6-foot-10 with a near 7-foot-1 wingspan and well-developed frame, Furkan Haltali is a traditional post-up player. Offensively, he makes for a difficult match up thanks to his ability to play with his back-to-the-basket. As a mobile player, Furkan has good catch-and-finishing potential. As a post-up and catch-and-finishing scorer, Haltalı’s jump hook from both hands, lateral movement, game reading, vertical pop, lob target gravity, footwork, and physical game help him here. He can finish around the basket through contact and draws fouls. He is not a stretch guy, lack of shooting, and elite athleticism hurt his stock here. But more importantly, he doesn’t have any aggressiveness or killer-paint-scorer skills. So, it creates a huge question mark in my mind about his projection on the offensive end: Can he play consistently?

Haltali is a very good handler and passer for his size. Just a read and react passer but it’s enough for a 6-foot-10 big in my opinion. As a handler, he showed some flashes with his open court dribble, trailing, and downhill dribble. Defensively, Haltalı has success as a rebounder and shot blocker. Not a great rim protector or amazing shot blocker, but he uses his size to get the job done. His instincts, physicality, and intensity helps him control the ground and air against PFs and Cs. He’s not switchable, he reads off the ball well and reacts well but sometimes makes the wrong decision. He needs to learn perimeter defense, and has to improve his athleticism on the defensive end in my opinion.

Yiğit Onan – 2002 – F

Yiğit Onan possesses great size for his position and age standing 6-foot-8 with to go along with a well-developed frame and quickness. Has great scoring but he will need to improve physically down the line. But for now, everything is suitable for his age and position, in my opinion.

Onan, who is the son of famous Turkish basketball player Ömer Onan, has the skill set and versatility to play multiple positions on both ends of the floor. His court vision, ball-handling package, and passing repertoire make him a creativity player. He is smart in pick-and-roll, both as a handler and roller. He is a good dribbler, especially in transition but he has learn to control the game tempo as he sometimes plays with a lack of awareness.

In terms of shooting, with an above-the head release and good arc, Yiğit Onan is an inconsistent shooter from long-distance at this stage of his career, has a lot of room, but showed that he can create his shots all zones of the court. So, promising shooter. Onan’s good BBIQ, and competitiveness often make up for his lack of athleticism. He running to passing lanes well and makes move with good eye-hand coordination and timing. Has good rebounding skill-set (vertical pop and BBIQ), showing good anticipation around the basket. On the defensive end, Onan has to learn off-ball, pick-and-roll and transition defenses in my opinion.

David Mutaf – 2002 – SG

Standing 6-foot-5 with a strong frame, David Mutaf plays bigger and stronger than his capacity in my opinion. His athletic package is not exactly explosive and smooth.

A player with high scoring instincts, Mutaf is able to create his own shot off the dribble, reading what the defense gives him. I think he is a sharpshooter from distance, showing an impressive ability to knock down 3-pointers off the catch and off the dribble. For his shooting, I think he has a solid mechanic with a combination of good range, quick release & footwork and nice ball-spin. He also has a mid-range repertoire: pull-up jumpers and floaters.

He is not the worst passer and handler in the world but has a lot of room to learn, he needs some shiftiness and craftiness skills to create space for others. He showed drive & dish abilities sometimes but is not really consistent in that area. He can play around the rim against contact, showing soft touch and the ability to change directions.

A reliable scorer from all-three levels, Mutaf is an excellent rebounder for his position and size. On the defensive end, he plays with good intensity and very quick hands, but could be more active, quick and also, should be more aware in perimeter rotations.

Alperen Şengün – 2002 – C

Standing 6-foot-10 with a plus 3 wingspan and 210-pound improving frame, Alperen Şengün is a half traditional/half modern-era big in my opinion. Lack of athleticism hurts his draft stock too much but his performances in other areas are notable in my opinion, showing the ability to use his size and BBIQ to self-create around the post and knocking down mid-range jump shots with consistency. Şengün is also a 3-point threat as a catch-and-shooter, has fluid release with a good arc in my opinion. However, I can’t say that he is a floor spacer with his own shooting threat.

He is a reliable, active catch-and-finish target, effective post-up scorer and productive rebounder on the offensive end. Lack of elite pick-and-roll skill-set, some motor problems and lack of athleticism are his notable cons on the offensive end in my opinion.

I think he has a lot of room to get better on the defensive end. He is a good rebounder with the length to contest some shots around the rim. However, he is not a great rim protector or shot blocker. Showed some good flashes as a switch defender. He can slide well around the perimeter but lack of quickness and lateral movement hurt him here. Can read his opponent’s pick-and-roll offense well and react well too.

I don’t think Alperen is a good NBA prospect. Because the best things he has consistently done offensively are not what the NBA expects from a PF or C in our era. Also, his athletic skills are bad. But for Europe, he’s an excellent player, because of his average shooting threat, can play post-up well and has good BBIQ.

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