Anadolu Efes Sports Club General Director Alper Yılmaz and Head Coach Erdem Can met with members of the media at Kahve Dünyası's Velidefendi store on Thursday, August 17, 2023. During the meeting where Alper Yılmaz and Erdem Can answered questions from the media, information was shared regarding Anadolu Efes Sports Club's planning for the 2023-2024 season, transfer processes, and other topics on the agenda.
Alper Yılmaz, General Director of Anadolu Efes Sports Club, commented on the club's agreement with Erdem Can as the new head coach: "We are very excited for the new season. Erdem Can's NBA experience and his performance at Türk Telekom influenced our choice. Furthermore, as Anadolu Efes, we prioritize working with a Turkish coach. As a team that always aims for the top, we believe we can achieve new successes with Erdem Can. Erdem Can is a coach who desires success and plans his career accordingly. In the two months since he took over the team, our belief that we made the right choice has been further strengthened. We hope to have a good season and work together for many years."
Erdem Can said, "I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a club that has achieved great successes like Anadolu Efes." Speaking about the transfer of Tyrique Jones and Erkan Yılmaz, with whom he worked at Türk Telekom last season, to Anadolu Efes, Erdem Can stated that both players have high basketball intelligence, bring energy to the court, and love to win, adding, "I believe they will perform even better in the roles they play well." Discussing his relationships with the players, Erdem Can emphasized the importance of creating a mutual sense of trust, saying, "It's very important for a coach to communicate well with the players. Integration of players with the team, feeling a sense of belonging, and enjoying what they do affects sustainable success."
Erdem Can and Alper Yılmaz also provided information about the injury of Anadolu Efes' national player Doğuş Özdemiroğlu. Expressing their sadness about Doğuş Özdemiroğlu getting injured in the national team's preparation match, Erdem Can said, "We won't be able to benefit from an important player of ours as we start the season. It will take time for him to return. I would never force a player to return early; we will wait for Doğuş to be 100%. I want to build a team where Turkish players get more playing time. Doğuş is an important player for us in this regard. We are looking for a player who will provide the necessary contribution in his rotation. We have added Burak Can Yıldızlı to our squad for the Turkish player rotation. There are also financial aspects to this. We need to keep our feet on the ground."
Alper Yılmaz also mentioned that Doğuş Özdemiroğlu suffered a severe injury. Indicating that they are interested in some players requested by the coach, Yılmaz said, "We have a guard and a position 4.5 transfer on our agenda." Sharing his views on transfers, Erdem Can stated that while players accustomed to winning are in the team, it's also essential to have players eager for success, adding, "We prefer players who strengthen us. Games aren't only won with good names on paper. Synergy, unity, and solidarity are important. It's necessary to create the right chemistry within the team."
Commenting on what his NBA experience has brought him, Erdem Can said, "Serving in a top-tier league like the NBA has taught me a lot, from disciplined working habits to player relations and uniting the team with a common language. Especially in the offensive aspect of the game, I have opened a new page for myself in terms of using the pace."
During the media gathering, information was also shared regarding the injury of Anadolu Efes' successful player, Shane Larkin, which prevented him from participating in the Turkish National Basketball Team. Anadolu Efes Sports Club General Manager, Alper Yılmaz, explained the situation as follows: "Shane Larkin could not join the Turkish National Basketball Team in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament due to edema in his knee. This edema was observed in the MRIs taken both in the USA and in Turkey on July 24. An examination two weeks after the initial diagnosis revealed that the edema had decreased but still persisted. It was noted that recovery would take 6 weeks, and if pushed, it could take another 6 weeks. We do not want to force any player. Larkin has been proud to play for the National Team since becoming a Turkish citizen. However, he currently cannot contribute due to the injury in his knee."
Speaking of their goals in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, Erdem Can said, "Firstly, we want to secure a spot in the playoffs and then reach the Final Four to play in the final. We will prepare for all matches with the same seriousness. We especially want to safely win our home games, making the most of our home advantage." Erdem Can and Alper Yılmaz also answered media questions about the rivalry between Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe Beko. Erdem Can stated that it would be a season where the two most significant and respected clubs in Turkey would fiercely compete, focusing on basketball values. Alper Yılmaz, noting the good relations between Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe Beko, said, "There should be a team wanting to surpass you, so you aim to be better than them. We and Fenerbahçe Beko are two teams that push each other. I think both teams need each other on the path to being better."
At the end of the meeting, Alper Yılmaz and Erdem Can added that they hope for a healthy and successful season in both the Turkey Insurance Basketball Super League and the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.