Alperen Sengun excels in limited FIBA minutes as Turkey crushes Iceland

Jalen Green (United States), Dillon Brooks (Canada), and Jock Landale (Australia) aren’t the only Houston Rockets players participating on the international stage in the 2023 NBA offseason.

After a late change in plans, Alperen Sengun is playing for Turkey’s national basketball team in August’s FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament. On Saturday, Houston’s talented young big man had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and a block in 15 minutes as Turkey crushed Iceland, 99-72, in the opening tournament game for both teams.

Based on the talent mismatch, Sengun was only asked to play in the first half. The big man connected on 2-of-4 shots (50.0%) Saturday while going a perfect 6-for-6 on free-throw attempts.

Turkey’s pre-qualifying tournament games all take place in Istanbul from Aug. 12-20. Turkey is battling with Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Iceland in Group C action, while Group D features Croatia, Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The two top teams from each group advance to a knockout stage, and the tournament winner earns a ticket to next year’s qualifiers for the 2024 Olympics.

As for the Rockets and the NBA, Sengun averaged 14.8 points (55.3% FG, 33.3% on 3-pointers), 9.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists in 28.9 minutes last year. He remains Houston’s expected starting center entering training camp for the 2023-24 season, which begins in October.

From Saturday, here’s a look at Sengun’s highlights versus Iceland.

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