James Weldon, who has coached UL Huskies to the last three Irish women’s titles, was in Konya for FECC and the FIBA Europe Under 18 men’s championships. After the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday evening, we asked Coach Weldon for his final thoughts on the competition.
BallinEurope: What players stood out for you at the tournament?
James Weldon: I think FIBA Europe got the team of the tournament spot on, Turkey’s Berk Ugurlu and Radovan Djokovic for Serbia deserve credit for great tournaments.
BiE: You were at Turkey’s win over Croatia, what went wrong for the Croats who had been dominant up to that point?
JW: Turkey did a great job on Bender in the first quarter, making him take tough shots. Also Croatia had an awful shooting night form the three point line. The home fans was a big factor in this too, like a sixth man on the floor. Last year at U16 in Kiev, Croatia were tagged as favorites and were disappointing in the end. Maybe it’s a little bit of a mental thing for them now because many said they weren’t tested until last night, but bounced back will to win third tonight.
BiE: What were your thoughts on Sunday’s final?
JW: Turkey were awesome tonight, they have so much speed size and athelticism in their team. Tonight they shot so well in front of full house and had a perfect start, the type that Serbia really needed playing in that environment.
BiE: Who stood out for you in the final?
JW: Turkey had so many weapons their, Ugurlu controlled the game very well and tournament MVP Egumen Guven, who had a nightmare in their group loss to Serbia, showed them what he was about to night. A great night for Turkey but also for FIBA Europe youth basketball with a packed arena.