Follow the World Cup on Facebook
Osman and Korkmaz praise Turkey teammates, fans after qualification for World Cup
ISTANBUL (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers) - Cedi Osman and Furkan Korkmaz were among Turkey's biggest fans during the fifth window of the European Qualifiers, when the country booked a place in next year's FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The two NBA players - Osman, a starting forward with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Korkmaz a reserve guard for the Philadelphia 76ers - were leading figures during the third and fourth windows of the Qualifiers in June-July and September.
While not physically present in the fifth window, when Turkey edged Spain, 71-67, in Ankara and then lost a 71-66 thriller to Montenegro in Podgorica, the dynamic duo was there in spirit.
Each offered a comment about what happened during a video call when Turkey coach Ufuk Sarica was interviewed this week on television.
"I followed both games, my teammates played really good games," Osman said. "I wish we were there, too. We were not but they did a great job and grabbed the ticket to the World Cup."
Son sürpriz, NBA'de Cleveland Cavaliers forması giyen Türk yıldız Cedi Osman'dan geldi. Cedi: Çin'i sabırsızlıkla bekliyorum. Orada olmayı hakediyoruz. Çok özel bir jenerasyonumuz var, büyük işler başarabiliriz." #beINSPORTS pic.twitter.com/IJg10hU91U— beIN SPORTS Türkiye (@beINSPORTS_TR) December 5, 2018
"I watched both games and I want to congratulate you and the team," Korkmaz said. "We fought pretty well. The most important thing was to get a ticket to China and we achieved it. I am very happy. I am ready for China."
Milli takımın NBA'daki yıldızı Furkan Korkmaz, programa canlı bağlantı yaptı... Korkmaz: "NBA'de de olsanız, herhangi bir Avrupa takımında da olsanız milli takım formasıyla oynamak ve o formanın verdiği haz çok ayrı." #beINSPORTS pic.twitter.com/HF9euRBFra— beIN SPORTS Türkiye (@beINSPORTS_TR) December 5, 2018
Korkmaz and Osman will give Turkey a formidable one-two punch at the World Cup. They each did in their four European Qualifiers experiences, all victories.
Kormaz averaged 20.3 points and shot 61.1 percent (11 of 18) from three-point range, while Osman poured in 19.3 points and grabbed 8.0 rebounds. The two excelled defensively, too.
They say that putting on the Turkey shirt is something they look forward to doing.
"PLAYING FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM IS ALWAYS A DIFFERENT PLEASURE. WE NOTICED THAT WHEN WE PLAYED OUR GAMES IN FRONT OF OUR FANS AT HOME. EVERY FAN SUPPORTING DIFFERENT CLUBS WERE SUPPORTING US NO MATTER WHAT CLUB WE WERE ON AWAY FROM THE NATIONAL TEAM. IT'S AMAZING TO HAVE SUCH A SUPPORT."
"It's a privilege to play for the national team," Korkmaz said. "Even if you play in the NBA or any top club in Europe, playing for the national team is always a different pleasure.
"We noticed that a maximum level when we played our games in front of our fans at home. Every fan, supporting different clubs, supported us no matter what club we were with, away from the national team. It's amazing to have such a support."
While the two are still early in the NBA season, both have one eye on what's going to take place next year. The World Cup tips off on August 31 and the First Round will be staged in eight cities.
"We've created a good, new generation. I believe we can do good things in China. We have some time to prepare and it is early to talk about it now," Osman went on.
"I WAS WITH THE NATIONAL TEAM AT THE WORLD CUP IN 2014. IT WAS A DIFFERENT AND GREAT FEELING FOR ME. WORLD CUPS ARE TOP LEVEL. WE'VE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT THIS FOR ALONG TIME AND WE'RE READY FOR IT."
The 23-year-old knows first hand how special it is to take part in a World Cup.
"I was with the national team at the 2014 World Cup," he said. "It was a different and great feeling for me. World Cups are top level. There are great countries in there. We've been dreaming about this for a long time and we're ready for it. We deserved that. We'll do our best in China as we always do in anywhere."