Tomorrow we take on Real Madrid. Even though this is a regular season game, the approach mentally and physically, is different. Not saying that any other game is not important but this game here has the feelings of the playoffs. Take for example; our fans come with it for this game. Our fans are yelling from warm ups to the final horn. I’ve never seen our fans crazier than a game with Real Madrid.
Madrid has been playing good basketball thus far. Sitting second in rankings behind CSKA. They have one of my favorite players to watch in Sergio Llull (19ppg and 6apg) and he just received the player of the month in EuroLeague. Also, they were able to acquire Anthony Randolph (11ppg and 7rpg) this summer. He has added to their athleticism and has been playing well.
Last year we had our way with them but this year may be a tougher task. I look forward to the challenge. It’s crazy that in EuroLeague our team stats do not look good when put up against another team. But somehow we find a way to win. It will be an exciting game and features two teams who should be contending for everything in May.
What up doe?!?! During the year, I will be interviewing different players, coaches, and people who I think are DOPE. Yesterday I had a chance to sit down and talk with James Nunnally. For people who do not know, James is a new player on the Fenerbahce basketball team. We talk about basketball (of course), life overseas, NBA and the EuroLeague. Hopefully y'all learn new things about James and I!!!
#Ekpesbookclub has officially arrived in Istanbul, Turkey!!!! If you haven't signed up for a chance to receive the book and discussion schedule, SIGN UP now at http://eepurl.com/cpSg2P
Madonna In A Fur Coat
By Sabahattin Ali
Shy young man leaves home feeling in rural Turkey to learn a trade in 1920s Berlin. The city's crowded streets, thriving arts scene, passionate politics in the provice cabarets and seedy backdrop for a chance meeting with a woman, which will haunt him for the rest of feeling life. Emotionally powerful, intensely atmospheric and Touchingly profound, Madonna in a Fur Coat is an unforgettable novel about new beginnings and the unfathomable nature of the human soul.
As I sit in the airport and in the air leaving Tel Aviv, I think about why I started to blog this year. I wanted to give y’all a look into my life. That also applies to the bad moments during the season. This is a bad moment. Only word to describe how I’m feeling is… FRUSTRATED!!!
This season has been a roller coaster of emotions and it’s only November. Coming into this season, I don’t think anybody had us 4-3 entering the 8th round of play. It’s frustrating knowing that we are usually the better team on paper but haven’t clicked yet on offense and most importantly defense. Other teams have been imposing their will on us and we have no answers. It’s frustrating knowing that we are shooting below 50% from the field as a team in EuroLeague. It’s frustrating watching film again and again and committing the same mistakes. So I sit back and most importantly look in the mirror and start with myself. What can I do to help the team more? What needs to be sacrificed to win games? What is going on with us?
We have to find a way. Whatever it takes. I know this season has been tough with the scheduling but there is no excuse when the other teams are playing a similar schedule. It is possibly a good thing that the league is now open because this start would hurt us in a group stage like last year. Of course, I think we will figure it out but I have to admit that it is tough going through this.
Thanks to the new schedule, we play again tomorrow vs. Efes. We have to respond . They are a tough team and won last night. New opportunity for us and I know we will be ready for the challenge.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Another one of my favorite destinations to travel to. Great weather, beaches, amazing food, and the opportunity to view biblical history. Most of the pictures above were taken in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. These pictures were taken last year and by phone (don't judge me). Do not think that I was walking around all day before the game.
When I was here last, we enjoyed great food. Benedict (which is photoed above) is one of the best breakfast foods spots in the world. Highly recommended and open 24hrs. Also, we had many interesting conversations with the locals about the history of the country. The locals are the best way to learn history.
This trip that I'm on now is more business. We are here to beat Maccabi (even though we lost), so all of the tourist attractions had to be put on hold for another time.
Last Thursday, I was able to attend a fútbol game/match against Manchester United. It was a very intense game from the first second thru the 90+ minutes played.
During my time in the stadium, I was able to greet Fenerbahce President Aziz Yildirim and wish him a Happy Birthday, which took place the day before. The President and I get along well even though we do not speak the same language. There is always great energy/vibes given off when we are around each other and while speaking the little we understand.
If you travel abroad, please try to attend a futbol game!!!
Check out this dope feature by EuroLeague on Jan Vesely and I!!!
This week’s match ups
Maccabi vs Pana 20:15 CET (8:15pm)
CSKA vs Real Madrid 18:30 CET (6:30pm)
Fenerbahce vs Baskonia 21:00 CET (9pm)
Maccabi vs Fenerbahce 20:45 CET (8:45pm)
Darussafacka vs CSKA 18:15 CET (6:15pm)
Olympiacos vs Barcelona 19:00 CET (7pm)
Real Madrid vs Pana 21:00 CET (9pm)
These next couple rounds are going to be tough in Euroleague. Teams will be tested. CSKA has back-to-back tough games against final four contenders. Madrid should be able to challenge them. They are playing well and will be able to match CSKA’s size. Lookout for Teodosic vs Llull match up. Gonna be a great individual battle. Then in their next battle, they will face Darussafacka. A team loaded with guards who can torch you.
As for us (Fener), we take on Baskonia and Maccabi both on the road. This should be a great test for us. Baskonia is back healthy and with their new pieces, they will be a tough out. Going to Maccabi will be a fun match up. Goudelock has been impressive for them. We will definitely have our hands full but we will be ready.
Grab a comfortable seat, couple snacks, and take in some great basketball!!!
"Look me in my eyes, tell me what you see".....
Whatever this man/coach needs from me, he can have. Coach Obradovic has been a key ingredient into starting my fire back up again. Before I signed to play for Fenerbahce, i had no clue who this man was. I did not know about his playing career, early transition to coaching, championships, his practices and his status as the greatest coach of Europe. Let's just say i learned quickly.
Since my first day in Istanbul we have been building a strong relationship. I have since studied him and I think you should too in order to capture a glimpse of his greatness. He has allowed me to be aggressive again and that has built up my confidence. I feel like I can play against anybody and hold my own. On the other side, he is an amazing tactical coach. He might have the best playbook i have seen. If i become a coach, he will definitely recognize my plays. He is a fiery coach/leader, perfectionist, and after all that, a loving guy. As you can see in the pictures above, he is nothing to play with. Which is scary to some but loving to others.
One of my old heads that I look up to is Caron Butler and he would always say, "Pay attention to what he/she is saying and not the tone". In my experiences, even when coach is yelling, he is encouraging. Kind of weird but it has helped me. There is no one I would rather play for (maybe my high school Coach Hardaker). Only the real basketball heads might know who Coach Obradovic is but best believe he is one of the greatest coaches of all time regardless of location. Hopefully, i will be able to have a "What A Day" post with him, so YOU can understand why he is so special to me and the basketball world.
This week's match ups
Fenerbahce vs Unics 18:00 CET (6pm)
Olympiacos vs CSKA 20:00 CET (8pm)
Efes vs Panathinaikos 18:45 CET (6:45pm)
We go against one of the hottest players in the league in Keith Langford. He is averaging 24 points per game. Olympiacos has been playing well as of late and should be able to give CSKA a run for their money in Greece. Key matchup in this game will be Spanoulis vs Teodosic and Erick Green vs Colo. In the last match up, Efes will try to keep their momentum going vs a tough team at home.