Veteran coach Ergin Ataman began his second stint with the Turkish National Basketball Team on Saturday.
A signing ceremony for Ataman was held in Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Sports Complex with the attendance of Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) Chairperson Hidayet Türkoğlu and TBF board members.
Türkoğlu thanked departing coach and former Turkey point guard Orhun Ene, who left the position two weeks earlier after poor results in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, losing three out of four games.
Türkoğlu, who is also widely known in world basketball with his NBA nickname “Hedo,” also welcomed Ataman, saying the TBF trusts and fully supports him and the team.
Ataman’s contract with the Turkish National Basketball Team runs until August 2024, coinciding with the end of 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, Türkoğlu said, adding they were happy with the veteran coach’s determination to carry the team to the Olympics.
Türkoğlu also thanked Anadolu Efes Chairperson Tuncay Özilhan for allowing Ataman to coach both the Istanbul club and the national team.
Noting that they first seek to win World Cup qualifiers by winning the Belarus and England games, Ataman said that their main focus would be on European Championship that will begin in September.
“Of course, there will be important countries like Serbia or Spain in the championship but our only goal in Europe will be to claim the title. I will invite every player to the team with this goal in mind,” Ataman said.
Hakan Demir and Ender Arslan will be his deputies in the team, while Mehmet Okur from the previous technical cadres will resume his duties, Ataman said.
He also urged international body FIBA and EuroLeague management to find a solution for international and club-level matches not to overlap in future fixtures.
The 56-year-old lifted the EuroLeague championship trophy with Anadolu Efes last season, while the top European club tournament chose him as 2021 Coach of the Year.
Throughout his career, Ataman coached Turkish teams including Türk Telekom, Pınar Karşıyaka, Ülkerspor, Beşiktaş and Galatasaray, winning the domestic league five times at three different clubs. He previously coached the national team between 2014 and 2016.
Ataman also coached Italian teams Siena and Bologna in two stints between 2001 and 2003, and 2006 and 2007, respectively.