01 November, 2023
06 May, 2024
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Hope dies last for Kerem Erdem and Galatasaray

DEBRECEN (Hungary) - "We've been an amazing family since the start of the season, I'm proud of them, I love them," said Galatasaray captain Kerem Erdem after his team defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 96-54 on Thursday, the final day of group action in the Youth BCL.

That win was akin to having to complete mission impossible in order to get into the Semi-Finals.


After losing to Baskets Oldenburg in their opening game, Galatasaray knew that they needed to win by 39 points or more against Hapoel Jerusalem, a team that had themselves already beaten Oldenburg in their previous game. 

To say Galatasaray reaching the Semi-Finals was unlikely would have been the understatement of the year. But for Erdem and his teammates, there was never any other possible outcome in their minds.

"We believed before the game we could do it. We knew that we were going to win, we never doubted we could make it to +39, " said an emotional Erdem.

Kerem Erdem 's unshakeable confidence in his team was vindicated on Thursday

Erdem and Galatasaray needed every ounce of that self-belief.

As with all great comeback victories, so many things need to go right and almost nothing can go wrong. Even as the second quarter was winding down with Galatasaray up 40-36, it looked like they could win the game but 39 points seemed a distant dream.

Then, with just 2.5 seconds to go before the break, Erdem dished an assist to Deniz Kocaman who knocked down the three, and suddenly the belief started growing.

Galatasaray extended the lead somewhat in the third but the scores were still just 52- 37 at the end of the quarter.

Erdem then took responsibility and reeled off 9 straight points to start the fourth, all from three-pointers. He then dished an assist to his backcourt companion Sarp Ugurluoglu, who knocked down a three of his own.

Sarp Ugurluoglu knocking down a three-ball for Galatasaray

The two guards finished the game with 25 points each, and took the game by the scruff of the neck with their shooting, scoring 19 points between them in the final quarter and steering their team to the seemingly impossible win.

Erdem, who played all 40 minutes, also added 10 rebounds an 8 assists in a near triple-double effort that earned him an efficiency rating of 29.

But what fueled his unshakeable belief that they could pull it off?

"The confidence is natural, it's in my character, " Erdem said.

"Hope dies last."