Fenerbahce Beko stars Şehmus Hazer and Metecan Birsen spoke to FANATİK! “Not without the Turks”

Şehmus Hazer and Metecan Birsen, the two Turkish stars of Fenerbahçe Beko, who won the championship, spoke to FANATİK.

Şehmus Hazer: Not without the Turks

“We became champions in my first year at Fenerbahçe. It’s a beautiful feeling. I am so happy. I am not someone who acts on the words of others. Of course, I listen to everyone, but in the end, I make the decision. I made the decision when I was in Banvit, coming to Beşiktaş and transferring to Fenerbahçe. There were those who said ‘he left early’. There were people who spoke very negatively. At the beginning of the season, there was a period of getting used to. They seemed right, but I was aware of that. I knew I was going to have a good season here. I did this too. I became a champion in my first year. I’m glad I came to Fenerbahce…”

‘Wide rotation provided an advantage’

“I do not believe that it is possible to become a champion in the Turkish League without the support and help of Turkish players. Efes played in a tight rotation compared to us. We had 10-12 players who could play. That’s how we played all season. We had the best players. This gave us an advantage. Foreigners can support the team to a certain extent. I think the Turks took the team to the next level. The contribution of the locals is the part that makes the difference. We gave the necessary energy to the team where necessary. We finally got the happy ending.”

‘The teacher trusted us’

“We have very talented players. We have the national players. From the beginning of the season to the end, we did not embarrass those who trusted us. The teacher started to trust us more. In the end, we all reached the goal together. When I first transferred to Fenerbahçe, there was the Istanbul Cup tournament here. My transfer took place that day. And I came to the club. My name was announced when I stepped onto the field. The fans are a big support to me. They applauded me. I will never forget that day. They supported me every time I entered the field in the following matches, even if I played badly. I am grateful for that. Hopefully it will continue like this for many years. The more they support me, the better I will serve my club.”

‘From Batman to EuroLeague…’

“I have no plans to go to the NBA summer league this year. We finished the season and the National Team is starting. The NBA is always on my mind. After a good season, the offer may come. I think I can go. I think the opportunity will come. I have an NBA target in a year or two. I would like to reach that goal… My self-belief was always at a high level. I went to Bandırma from Batman at the age of 15. Then I became a Euroleague player. Young people need to have confidence in themselves. I am a very good example for them. If I can come out of a place like Batman where sports are not developed, where basketball is not common, and I can reach the highest level, they have a chance too. They need to believe in themselves and never give up.”

Metecan Birsen: I can’t describe the feeling I have

“I thought our Turkish cast was better. We are very happy. As Turkish players, our presence on the field and our benefit made a difference. I think that the role of Turkish actors has increased, especially in the Play-Off series. Of course, this made the championship more meaningful for us. I am proud to be my second championship in Fenerbahçe and to have my share in this success. Fenerbahce is where I opened my eyes. This is my home. I came to Fenerbahçe when I was 8 years old. I played in youth for 10 years. I have had great success. It is an indescribable feeling to leave and go back to my home and win the championship afterward.”

‘Kokoskov wanted me’

“I wanted to play for a bigger goal and my transfer process developed differently. When I signed with Fenerbahçe, Kokoskov was the head of the team and he assured me that he would give me both time and role. So I came here to play, I didn’t transfer to sit. But at the beginning of the season, there was a change of coach and I had a little trouble. It took some time for Coach to get to know me, I did my best, and although I worked hard to play, I couldn’t get the required times for me. This caused me to fall behind a bit. Later on, as the coach got to know me and I adapted to his system, I started to play more and I had the chance to show more of what I could do, if not fully. I think we finished the season well. When I wasn’t playing here, it was important to keep myself ready both physically and mentally. When I succeeded in this, I was conscious that the responsibility would come, and it happened as I thought.”

‘My position has changed’

“Last year I usually played at #3. The times when I moved to the number 4 position were very short. This year, I took very little time at number 3 and mostly played number 4. I can’t say that I had too much trouble because I am used to the #4 position from the infrastructures. Yes, there was a change of position, but I tried to adapt and give the team as much benefit as I could.”

Gokhan German

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