Omer Yurtseven, a five-star 2016 prospect from Turkey, turned down a significant contract offer from Fenerbahçe to pursue his dream of playing college basketball.
But the decision wasn’t easy. Not only was he offered a hefty contract, but there was also pressure to stay and play for the club he’s spent so much time with.
“Whether I stay or not I will always love for Fenerbahçe and [Željko] Obradovic because I have grown in this club and they are the main reason that I have made it this far,” Yurtseven said.
“I know that the things that Obradovic said at the press conference was also for my good. But I have made my decision of going to college because I wanted to continue taking my education with basketball. Two things I cannot live without.”
Since the news circulated that Yurtseven, a 7-foot center prospect, wanted to come to the states for college, interest has picked up from a host of college programs.
“I have been getting calls and texts from a lot of colleges and I’m trying to find the best fit for myself education and basketball wise,” Yurtseven told Scout.
The list of interested parties is long and full of high major programs.
“ Utah, Cal, Oregon, Miami, UNC, NC State, Arizona, Arizona State, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mizzou, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, USC and Texas are the ones that I’m in touch [with] right now,” Yurtseven told Scout.
“I believe that all of them explained their resources and what could they do for me,” he added.
Being from a different country, the visits will be a big factor for Yurtseven, but because of his schedule he won’t be able to take them until the summer.
“I haven’t gotten into any final decision but I think I will make my visits in June,” he said.
On the court, Yurtseven has had an impressive amateur career, including playing in a pair of exhibition games against NBA teams during the preseason. Yurtseven also competed in the FIBA U18 European Championships this past summer, where he averaged 9.8 points and 8.7 rebounds through nine games.
“I think I’m a versatile player but I also know that I have a lot to improve with my body and my mind,” he said. “I believe that I’m hungry to learn and to take responsibility.”
Draft Express currently has Yurtseven projected as a top 10 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.