Onuralp Bitim: “We made history”
Scoutbasketball interviewed Turkish prospect Onuralp Bitim (SG 1.97 99') after the end of the semifinal game against Spain.
"We made history"
Onuralp Bitim was really emotional. He knew that he and his teammates had just made history, because this is the first time that Turkey will compete for the gold medal in a World Championship at Junior level. It is a dream come true for one of the best generations of Turkish basketball. A Generation of players that just one year ago won Bronze medal in U16 European Championship. And Stefanos Makris was able to interview Bitim moments after Turkey had just won in the Semifinal against Spain in a real exciting game that it was decided in overtime.
You are in the Final! What are your first thoughts?I still can't believe that we are in the Final of the World Championship! That's the first time that Turkey manages to go that far at that level. We played against a great team, but we played with a lot of heart and we won. It's an unbelievable feeling.
You played against Spain in their own court but you managed to win. What does this say about the character of your team?It was such a hard game. I can't desctibe the feeling because, you know, we are playing against a powerhouse like Spain. Spain is a good team with talented players and the game is on their home court. We started bad, I don't know why, but we improved as the game was going on and we played really good after the halftime, because we are a good team. We enjoyed the moment, we just wanted to make history and we made it and I am so happy about it.
Was there any time in the game that you thought that you are going to lose?I swear I didn't think that we were gonna lose. I don't know why, I can't explain it, I just never thought that we were gonna lose this game.
How about you? You had some bad games in the beginning of the tournament, but you saved your best for last.I didn't play good in the first 5 games and I don't know why. But, I know that I am a good player and I just try to help my team. The most important thing for a good player is to play good in big games, no matter what. The good players have to step up in big games. I just tried to lead my team. I am happy for all my teammates. I am happy for Atar, for Duran, Konyuk, Mustafa, Akyuz, Afsar, our staff, everybody. We are like a familly. We won some big games and we enjoy the moment.
Last question: What do you think about your future? Is the NBA in your mind?It's too early to think about it. I really want to be a professional NBA player. I don't know what I m gonna do in the next 2-3 years, I want to be in the NBA, but that's like 4 years away for me.
Onuralp Bitim video
By Stefanos Makris