With a signature talent for one of the most important aspects of the game, CSKA forward Mirsad Turkcan has assured his place among the greats of what everyone agrees is a golden age for European basketball. Simply put, almost no one rebounds better than Turkcan, and his persistence on the boards has earned the appreciation of fans all around Europe, as seen in the Fan Mail he received from a variety of countries. The questions had a common theme: How is he, among all players fighting for the same ball, able to make himself one of the best rebounders Europe has seen? "It's not about jumping well or anything like that," Turkcan answered. "I think sometimes that I just have a good feel for where the ball is going on missed shots. Always before the games I am focused to help my team. It's about doing my best, not just in rebounds, but it's true that when I go out on the floor I am thinking all the time about going after every single ball I can get my hands on."
Hello, Mirsad Turkcan! Although I am a big fan of Maccabi, I am also a big fan of yours. I wanted to ask how do you manage to grab so many boards every game? I mean, your stats are amazing. So good luck in the Final Four,
"Everybody asks me how I do it, because it's such an individual thing. It's not about jumping well or anything like that. I think sometimes that I just have a good feel for where the ball is going on missed shots. Always before the games I am focused to help my team. It's about doing my best, not just in rebounds, but it's true that when I go out on the floor I am thinking all the time about going after every single ball I can get my hands on."
Hi Mirsad. First good luck personally in the Final Four, although I am a Maccabi fan. It's your third Final Four. How eager do you feel this time and do you feel you learned something from participating in other final matches? See you next Thursday,
Amos Gutman, Israel
"Of course, you know that with this being my third time - first with Efes Pilsen and last year with Montepaschi - I can say that now I understand it better. Expereince is a very important thing to any basketball player. Each year I come to the Final Four, it has been a little easier. This year we had a great regular season and the best record, so we were headed in the right direction all season. For myself, I think I go to this Final Four feeling more confident because I have been there two times already. I know it will be hard, because Maccabi has the homecourt advantage, and that may be seen as bad luck for us by other people, but I also think that Maccabi is going to have some stress. I will just try to do my best, as I try to do in every single game."
Hello, Mirsad. I am from Sarajevo. I think the team that wins between CSKA and Maccabi will be the winner in the final, too. I wish you all the luck and want to ask you if you agree?
"Of course, I think it's an early final. But you never know for sure. A lot of Italian teams are very talented and good. You never know what is going to happen, but I think that between my team and Maccabi, one of us is going to be European champion this year."
Hi, Mirsad. You were the best rebounder in the Top 16, even better than Sabonis. How will you work under the baskets in the Final Four and who will win, CSKA or Maccabi?
"That's the hardest question to answer. Both teams have the same chances to win in one game. I think we just need a good day. I just give my team a chance because we beat Maccabi one time in Tel Aviv already. As for being the top rebounder in the Top 16, of course it meant a lot to me to see my name there with someone like Sabonis. That is something really special. He is my favorite player in Europe, and to finish ahead of him is something like an honor."
Hi, Mirsad. I am a Maccabi fan, however I'd like to say that you are a great player and I would like to see you in Israel someday. I'd like to ask you what you think about Maccabi fans and about the atmosphere at Nokia Arena. Yours,
"I cannot count for sure, but I think I have already played a minimum of 8 or 9 times in Nokia Arena with Efes, CSKA two years ago, Montepaschi last season and now again with CSKA. I have always like to say it's a great atmophere, maybe the best. The people really love basketball and know how to support Maccabi. That will make it hard to say who is favored in the semifinal, but the one thing I know is that it will be a great game in a great place."
Dear Mirsad. This is your second consecutive Final Four after last year's appearance with Siena. Do you feel you have more chances with your current team, CSKA? Greetings from Spain and good luck,
Pablo Maroto, Spain
Of course, I think so because CSKA first of all has a history of playing big games in Europe and being in Final Fours. Last year with Montepaschi, we didn't make the final, but some of us had bad days who you would have expected to do better in the semifinal. This year is totally different situation. We have 12 players, a very deep bench. I feel like my team this year has a better opportunity than my team last year."
How is the teamwork on CSKA? Can we win the Final Four? Go all the way! We're counting on you! Thanks,
Reggi, United States
"Our teamwork is great all season. Everybody knows we have a great coaching staff and a great organization. Everybody knows how the team has to work. The friendship between the players have been great all season. I think now we are looking to have something of a reward to the efforts we had all year long. To make the Final Four is great, and we have also done well in the Russian championships. Now, in the last month of the season, we have to focus on finishing those efforts, and we just have to give 150 percent to make it happen."
Hello Mirsad. Why did you decide at 16 years old to play in Turkey instead of in Partizan or Red Star?
"When I was young, I had no opportunity to go to Red Star or Partizan. When I was 16, Efes made me an offer. I went and I played there several years and grew up with Turkish players like Turkoglu and Besok. You never know what will happen in the future, but because I have always been a big supporter of Partizan, maybe one day I can try to play one season in Partizan."
Mirsad, Everybody talks about Maccabi being lucky to make the Final Four, but is it also true about Skipper and CSKA? What did you think of the amazing Top 16 finish?
"I think you are 200 percent right, that all three teams were lucky to make it. I think this season has shown for everyone in the world just how strong the competition is in the Euroleague. Everybody knows now that the Euroleague has great, great basketball. The fact that three of the best teams made it to the Final Four only after very exciting, last-minute and last-second decisions is great for basketball."
Hi, Mirsad. I have to ask if you were born a rebounder or it is something that became your specialty at a certain time in your career? You are the best! Ciao,
"First, thank you for the compliment. Like I said in the first answer, my rebounding is something I cannot explain. I tried to find my place in this sport that I love. I know my best side in basketball is rebounding. I am not a scorer, so I do my best as a rebounder. My first job when I step on the court is to take as many rebounds as I can. I push myself every time, trying to do better the next game and the next game. For now, it is going good."
Hello, Mirsad. You have said more than once that you would like to play for Maccabi. Do you still feel the same and is there a chance we will see you in yellow someday?
Amit - Israel
"Maccabi is first of all a good team and of course I'd be happy to play there, but right now I am very happy in CSKA, where I have a perfect situation. So I only think about CSKA now. But I thank you because for any player it's a compliment to be considered as a player for Maccabi and some of the other big teams in Europe. But CSKA is now at a high level and I am happy here."