Despite this being his first season outside of his native Turkey, Kaya Peker's popularity can be clearly seen as the questions poured in from all over for his edition of Fan Mail. And they all had one thing in common – everyone is wishing the big man good luck. After a career's worth of close calls with his previous club, the big man is now ready for his first Final Four with Tau Ceramica. While Peker is naturally pleased to have qualified with Tau for the upcoming Final Four in Athens, as he said in his answers, he and his teammates still want more. "I made the first step to reaching the Final Four with Tau Ceramica. But the most important thing is to get the trophy," Peker said in one answer. "I want to add something new to my career, like all my other teammates want, to hold the cup in OAKA. If we come together in a good harmony as a team, we can get what we want.
Hello, Kaya. I live in the U.S., but I watch NBA TV for international basketball news all the time. I know this is your first year playing professionally outside of Turkey. Have you enjoyed it, and do you think you'll be back with Tau Ceramica next year? Tell the rest of the team that they have good wishes being sent their way from the U.S.
Tamara, United States
"Hey Tamara, first of all, thank you for your good wishes. Of course, the first year is always hard for any player with a new team. It's a different country, different club. But luckily, I adjusted quickly with the help of Serkan Erdogan and my other teammates. By the way, the lifestyle and the warm reception from the people here in Vitoria helped me a lot to adjust myself. I can honestly say that I'm really enjoying myself playing for Tau Ceramica. I have a contract with Tau for three years, so it means that I have two more years, too."
Hello Kaya. You have been wearing number 14 for your entire career: Karsiyaka, Efes Pilsen, the Turkish national team and Tau Ceramica. What does 14 mean for you? I hope you win the Euroleague title in Athens, which you deserve. Best regards!
Ugur Kayaturk - Turkey
"Hello Ugur. There's nothing special about me wearing the number 14 jersey since the beginning of my career. The only reason is that I don't like to change my jersey number, that's all. It has no meaning to me. But I like it and still wear the same number for many years, now. Thank you very much for your wishes and I share the same idea with you, that we deserve to win Euroleague this year."
Hello Kaya. As an Efes Pilsen fan, I was so sorry that you left the team, but I was also happy that you've joined a team like Tau and finally made it to the Final Four. How do you feel about playing for Tau this year after leaving Efes and making it to the Final Four? Good luck in Athens!
Nurhan Mikaelian - Turkey
"Thank you so much for your thoughts. I'm really very happy to play for Tau Ceramica and reach the Final Four after leaving a great team like Efes Pilsen. To be honest, we didn't struggle, as I had in the past with Efes Pilsen, to reach our goal. I wish I could have done the same with Efes in the past, but unfortunately we couldn't. I hope that it happens for Efes one day, too. Thank you very much. Of course we need luck, too, in Athens."
Hello Kaya, I was a couple of questions for you! What is the biggest difference between your new and your former team? What kind of atmosphere do you expect to see in OAKA? Thank you!
Christos Papadopoulos - Greece
"I think it's not right to compare Efes Pilsen and Tau Ceramica. Efes Pilsen is a high level club playing for the top. Tau Ceramica is a great club that is one of the teams playing in the Final Four for three years now. I'm really very happy to be a part of both sides. OAKA is not stranger for me. I'm familiar with it from having played big games there before. I can easily describe what kind of atmosphere there will be in the Final Four. It's going to be very hard for us for sure. But we are motivating ourselves for those kinds of difficulties. Thank you so much for the questions Christos, hope to see you there."
Hey Kaya. First of all, congratulations for reaching the Final Four. You are playing with Serkan Erdogan in Tau and Ender Arslan also helped the team to make it to the Final Four. Do you feel like this Tau Ceramica is the closest thing to a Turkish team in a Final Four for the last four or five years? We will be rooting for Tau in Turkey, for sure!
Adnan Demir - Istanbul, Turkey
"Thank you very much Adnan. Of course, it was a big pleasure for us, three Turkish players playing for a great club in Spain. As you say, Ender Arslan also was a part of our success reaching the Final Four. He added power to our team before he left for Panionios, Athens. It's really a big honor for us and for the Turkish basketball along with Serkan Erdogan to play in the Final Four. But this is not the end of the road. We still didn't complete our mission. Our mission will be completed when we take the title in Athens. Keep on cheering for Tau!”
Hey Kaya. You are having a fantastic year, as you finished sixth in the World Championship with your national team and now you made it to the Euroleague Final Four. What would it mean for you to play in this big event?
Antonio Lucarelli - Italy
"Thank you for the question Antonio. Of course, the dream for all the players around Europe is to reach the Final Four of the Euroleague. If you think big, it's not enough just to play there, either: you want to win the title. It's really very, very important for a player's career. I made the first step to reaching the Final Four with Tau Ceramica. But the most important thing is to get the trophy. I want to add something new to my career, like all my other teammates want, to hold the cup in OAKA. If we come together in a good harmony as a team, we can get what we want."
Dear Kaya, I am Luis from Vitoria and I will be there in my third consecutive Final Four supporting Baskonia! What do you think about us, the fans, and how do you compare their support to some of the best fans in Europe?
Luis Usobiaga, Vitoria, Spain
"We really have some of the best supporters of Europe in Vitoria. Baskonians are the best for me. They are coming and filling the arena every game and it's really amazing to see them always behind you. This gave us extra motivation and power. I'm sure that they will be in Athens, too, because we need their support also there. I'm happy for you that you will come to Athens, too. I hope you will be one of those lucky guys watching us when we are holding the cup!”
Hello from Spain! My question is for Kaya Peker. How does it feel to play with Luis Scola, the master in the low post, and what did you learn from him in these months playing together? I hope Tau wins the Final Four!
Andoni Iturregi, Bilbao, Spain
"Thank you very much for your wishes. Of course, Luis Scola is a very talented and experienced player. He is a perfect player who has proven himself at all levels and became in Euroleague's top scorer ever this season, what is very important for a player's career. He is one of the hard workers in the practices. We are having really hard training sessions and that's when it is very good to share your skills with each other. For sure, it's a very good thing to practice together with a talented player like Scola. Of course, it helps you to improve yourself, as I always tell everybody."
Hey Kaya, Tau is once again in the Final Four after not getting the title in the last two, with another final lost in 2001. Do you think that some players can use that experience to finally win the Euroleague title! Thanks!
Ufuk Oktem, Ankara, Turkey
"It's not easy to say that only experience can make it through to the title. All the teams coming to the Final Four are really strong. And the hardest thing is that you have to do your best without any mistakes over two games, because there's not other chance to make up for it. The most important thing is that whichever team works better together and plays better as a team has the most chance for the title. There's no place for individual success in the Final Four."