08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
22 Sehmus Hazer (BAND)
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Bandirma's Hazer looks past Team of the Week honors, eyes Play-Offs berth

BANDIRMA (Turkey) - Sehmus Hazer, the 20-year-old sensation of Teksut Bandirma, recalls that when he was a child, before he knew that basketball would become his profession, his favorite player was Greek legend Dimitris Diamantidis.

Hazer didn't grow up to be a point guard like his childhood hero. Instead, the young Turkish international developed into an explosive shooting guard who is already a key piece on Bandirma's roster and a strong candidate for the Basketball Champions League Best Young Player award.

On Gameday 11, he torched AEK for 23 points to lead Bandirma to a huge win in Athens in Group C action. He added 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals to register a BCL career-high efficiency rating of 33 in arguably one of the toughest arenas in Europe and earned a spot on Team of the Week.

"I became aware of my stat line against AEK after the game was over. I would define myself as a team player, so the most important thing to me is that I made a helpful contribution to the team," Hazer told championsleague.basketball

"Before games, I get prepared by concentrating entirely on the task at hand and during the game I don't let anything distract me.

I am not satisfied with my performances. To become a  valuable player you need to be consistent and show a good performance always, I am aware of that - Sehmus Hazer

"This is my third year on the senior team and every time I step on the court I try to show a better performance than in my previous games.

"After team practices, I practice individually to improve on my weaknesses and, on top of that it is quite crucial to show patience until you get a chance to show yourself.

"When you find a place in the rotation, you have to develop so you don't go backwards and lose importance within the team.

"I give priority to becoming a consistent player, so in every game I try to show the same discipline and determination. I can say that I am already used to playing in high-level basketball games."

Playing and, more importantly, excelling: The young shooting guard is averaging 10.5 points per game on 51 percent shooting from the floor, up from 7.5 points on 45 percent from the field last season. His average efficiency rating has risen to 10 from 6.8 and he is also contributing 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest.

The Turkish league is one of the most competitive leagues around Europe but the key point of playing in the BCL is that you can observe different basketball styles - Sehmus Hazer

Hazer not only made Team of the Week for the first time in his career but also became the youngest player, as well as the first Turkish player, to earn the distinction this season.

"It is a source of happiness for me, but I am at still the bottom of the ladder," he said modestly.

"First of all, I am proud of to be selected as a Turkish player of the Team of the Week in the BCL.

"I still need to decrease the weaknesses in my game. As a basketball player, in my opinion, learning never ends.

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"I am not satisfied with my performances. Young players in particular always have up and downs. To become a more valuable player you need to be consistent and show a good performance always, I am aware of that.

"At the end of the season, I will be able to make a proper evaluation of my performance. We are currently in the middle of season so I hope that I can still add some very good performances."

Hazer is not the only youngster Bandirma are placing a lot of faith in. Aperen Sengun and Furkan Haltali, the 17-year-old big men, have both earned a spot in the rotation under head coach Hakan Demir and are already turning heads in the BCL.

We've never thought that we cannot achieve that goal [reaching the Play-Offs] even after having some bad results - Sehmus Hazer

The 18-year-old Atakan Erdek and 19-year-old Sadik Emir Kabaca have also seen action in the competition, while the established Ridvan Oncel and Erkan Yilmaz are still just 22 years old.

"Teksut Bandırma is a club that has a lot of talented young guys in its ranks," Hazer said.

"Everybody knows that the mission of the club is to develop young players and prepare them for the senior team in the long run, and we are taking advantage of this opportunity.

"Playing in a European competition is definitely very beneficial to our development as young players.

"The Turkish league is one of the most competitive leagues around Europe, but the key point of playing in the BCL is that you can observe different basketball styles.

"At the same time, playing in both the Turkish League and the BCL is not easy, so you need to step up and increase your tempo in general. I think all of those factors help players to see their mistakes and to become elite basketball players."

Bandirma improved to 5-6 in the Group B standings following their AEK victory, which has boosted their chances in the race for a spot in the Play-Offs.

On Tuesday, the Turkish side are playing host to RASTA Vechta, that stand at 6-5, in a clash that will be potentially crucial for the play-off aspirations of both teams.

Bandirma reached the Play-Offs in both of Hazer's previous seasons with the senior team and they have not considered the possibility of missing out this year, the youngster says.

"At the beginning of the season, our aim was to qualify for the Play-Offs in this competition," Hazer said.

"We've never thought that we cannot achieve that goal, even after having some bad results in the group.

"We are trying and will try to do our best until the final buzzer. As a team, we are still feeling the same way as on the first day of the season and we want to play until the end of the season."