Turkey and Russia may as well compete who is the bigger disappointment on Eurobasket 2013.Both teams left for Slovenia with great expectations, and came back home after just one week of the tournament. Both were placed in the same group, together with Greece, Italy, Finland and Sweden, with the three best to move to the second phase.Greece seemed like a contender, but no one would guess Italy would finish top of the group with no loss, and Finland will get the second spot there…
And suddenly, on the final day of that group, Russia was playing Turkey for the sole purpose to go home at least with one win! That’s right – Sbornaya lost four in a row, and had to fight only to keep their honor, if that was even an option.
OK, then Russia beat Turkey, in what was merely a pathetic game. Both teams knew they are going home, and were clearly preparing to face the critics. Both left with just one victory, and suffered four losses each.
And those are two of the most respected basketball nations in the world, where people give loads of money for basketball, and fans do care.
Russia maybe kind of saw that crash coming. The problem was not in the team though, but in the governing body. Person to blame there is now newly elected Yulia Anikeeva. She managed, while serving the position temporarily in July, to make one of the brightest coaches in Europe – Fotis Katsikaris – to resign. The subversive actions of Anikeeva this summer blew the whistle for one bad performance of the national team. The scandal as combined with the absence of Russian superstars Andrei Krirlenko, Timofey Mozgov, Victor Khryapa, Sasha Kaun and so on.
And while Russia has lots of excuses to present, Turkey has almost none.
Team leader Hidayet Turkoglu was there, fellow NBA-ers Ersan Ilyasova and Omer Asik also came back to play, and Turkey overall had one of the most experienced rosters on Eurobasket 2013.
They came to Slovenia under nation`s favorite coach Bogdan Tanjevic, and just needed to perform to live up to the expectations. But nothing like that happened.
Turkey succeeded only once – against Sweden – the team that barely even made the Finals. And if it could get worse, the Turkish player score only 55 points in their first game, had 61 against Greece and was surprisingly impotent in offense in those games.
Turkey and Russia are the teams that allowed the most points from all 24 teams at Eurobasket. Despite having lots of experienced big men in the frontcourt, Turkey was also second from the bottom for rebounds, and Russia, having good guards, never showed that, being one of the teams with most turnovers on the championship.
So, Russia and Turkey are already home, settled in front of the tv screens, to find out who is going to win Eurobasket 2013. But even bigger disappointment will hit them in 2014 – when they all sit back home, for the coming World Cup…