Ataman faces issues in Berlin, complains again: 'What kind of EuroBasket is it?'

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2022-09-09 17:02

Ergin Ataman was unhappy that due to late luggage at Berlin's airport, Turkish NT wasn't able to practice for the game against France.

Credit: Reuters - Scanpix
Credit Reuters - Scanpix

Ergin Ataman couldn't stop complaining about his EuroBasket experience in Tbilisi, but things aren't really changing for the Turkish head coach in Berlin.

When Turkey arrived in Berlin, Ataman had problems that forced his team to miss the practice.

"In Tbilisi, we had problems going to practices or games every time. After the last game, we arrived at the hotel after 1 hour and 15 minutes," he said.

"I disagree with many things. I don't agree that we flew back from Georgia, a five-hour flight, and we spent two hours waiting for the luggage because we were coming out of the non-Schengen zone," Ataman revealed.

"We arrived here at 18:00, and we missed the official practice that we planned to do. And tomorrow at 12:00 we have to play the game. At 10:30, we have to be here. What kind of EuroBasket is it? Did we work the whole summer for this?"

The eightfinals start with four games on Saturday. The other four will be played on Sunday. Ataman had a suggestion to improve the calendar.

"Let's give us one more day. Let's make two games per day at regular times. I'm against it. Okay, maybe it's the same for France. It's not easy to play in the morning. 12:00 is the morning time. But they played in Germany and arrived after 40 minutes flight. They're more comfortable," Ataman added.

For the final EuroBasket phase in Berlin, Ataman expects the level to improve both on and off the floor.

"The quality of group B was better. Not only the quality of the players. The quality of the full atmosphere. Every game was in a full arena. There was a real EuroBasket atmosphere in every game. When I watched games from the B group, I wondered: why we're playing in Tbilisi?" Ataman said after his first practice in Berlin.

"Except for the home team, all games were in an empty gym. There were only 50-60 people. There was no atmosphere," he continued.

Despite an early game time, Ataman expects at least half of the arena to be filled with Turkish supporters.

"If we played in the evening, I'm sure Turkish people from all over Germany would come. They love the Turkish national team," Ataman assured.

It's been five days since the infamous Furkan Korkmaz fight in Georgia, where three Georgian players allegedly assaulted the Philadelphia 76ers guard.

Despite both teams urging to show the video footage of the locker room and Tbilisi arena's tunnel, there has been no news or decisions since then.

"Regarding the allegations from both federations in relation to actions in the team areas of the venue, involving players and delegation members from both teams, an investigation is currently ongoing. Once the investigation is concluded, the competent FIBA bodies will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures," the official announcement was released by FIBA on Friday.

"Everybody forgot about it. What can I do? Everybody forgot. It's' over," Ataman wasn't pleased with the slow investigation. "We ask for the video tapes from the locker room, but nothing. Everybody just talks."

The National Basketball Federation of Georgia officially blamed Ataman for provocations in the game. Per Georgians, his obscene gestures towards referees and fans, his unethical behavior, including his statements in the press conference, escalated the situation to the point where Korkmaz got into a fight with Duda Sanadze.

Ataman was surprised by such a statement.

"It's very strange that the Georgian federation announced that I provoked spectators and the atmosphere. I was on the court, everything happened... I complained about the last segment of the game, they ejected me, and I went to the locker room," the Turkish NT coach responded.

He still asks for actions.

"Tell us the truth. What happened there? 'Ataman provoked the spectators.' There are no spectators to provoke. The great atmosphere was only in games vs. Georgia," a 56-year-old coach concluded.

Ataman believes this experience in Tbilisi made his team stronger.

"Yes. I saw this against Belgium and also against Spain. Okay, we lost, but it was a good game," he said.

Ataman hopes that in the eighthfinals, everyone will be able to concentrate on basketball.

"I don't know who will be referees. I hope they will be good and fair for both sides. They don't need to protect us," Ataman said when asked about the refereeing he expected vs. France.

"During EuroBasket, we saw many mistakes. But I hope the referees will be more focused from tomorrow because the level of basketball and players is so higher. It's the mix of the NBA and the EuroLeague. I think referees will have to be more concentrated to avoid mistakes," Ataman concluded.

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