Turkish star Omer Yurtseven is planning to pursue collegiate options, rather than stay in Turkey and sign a professional contract.
Yurtseven, a 6-foot-11 post player that DraftExpress has projected as a top 10 pick in the 2017 draft, recently informed Fenerbahçe, the club he plays for, of his plans.
“They got kind of shocked,” Yurtseven, who would be a 2016 recruit, told Scout at Basketball Without Borders on Sunday.
“Fenerbahçe is a really good club and they play at a high level,” he continued. “I haven’t been playing that much, so I need to go some place that I can to play more and to improve. That’s why I want to go to college.”
Sources told Scout that Yurtseven has been in constant communication with a wide range of college programs over recent months. On Sunday, Yurtseven mentioned interest from Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, California, Duke, Miami and Utah. Texas, Tennessee, Oregon, Kentucky and UC-Irvine have also communicated with him. Yurtseven hasn’t take any college visits, but said he plans to once his club season ends.
“I got to see the school if I think I’m going to go to college,” Yurtseven said. “To make the right choice I need to visit the school I’m going to go to.”
“We have a season going on now with Fenerbahçe, once the season finishes we will start visits,” he added.
Yurtseven would be a significant pick up for any college program and was one of the top post prospects at Basketball Without Borders, which includes the best players from across the world, this past weekend.
Yurtseven, 17, impressed NBA executives and scouts with his skill, polish and maturity on the offensive end. He flashed jump hooks and very good touch around the basket. He competed on both ends and also did a good job rebounding his area.
“I believe my right hook is pretty good,” Yurtseven said. “I have a shake and I need to put more work into it and work more on my fundamentals.”
Heading into the event Yurtseven was well known because of a decorated past in international competition. At the FIBA U18 European Championships this past summer, Yurtseven averaged 9.8 points and 8.7 rebounds through nine games.
Yurtseven also competed with Fenerbahçe against a pair of NBA teams during the preseason. During two games, he averaged six points and six rebounds.
The most notable Turkish basketball player to attempt this move recently was Enes Kanter, who ended up coming to the United States for the end of his high school career. Kanter wasn't granted NCAA eligibility his first college season. He's since gone on to sign a max contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.