His 25th birthday is a perfect time to salute Erten Gazi for his contributions to Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s second straight championship.
Tribute to the Champs: Erten Gazi
Every championship-winning team requires a great depth of talent, especially in the modern era of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague which is more physically and mentally demanding than ever before. And so, although others were the star performers in Efes’s title triumph, the significance of role players such as Gazi should not be overlooked.
The hard-working guard made 14 appearances during the season, either giving superstar teammates such as Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic a chance to rest or covering for absences. He featured most prominently in an exciting 71-68 victory over UNICS Kazan in Round 5, spending more than 16 minutes on the court in a game that Micic missed through injury. And Gazi made his presence felt by providing 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist, with his importance to the win shown by his team-high plus/minus of +11.
At other times Gazi was sent onto the court by Coach Ergin Ataman to play hard defense for short but significant stretches of action, with his willingness to fulfill a selfless task shown in a Round 27 blowout of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv when he committed 3 fouls in 6 minutes on the floor without taking on a single shot, while distributing a pair of assists.
Gazi has now spent a decade with Efes on and off, joining at the age of 15 and graduating through the club’s youth ranks, then spending time at college in the United States to develop his game before returning to Istanbul in 2020. His two seasons back at the club have both resulted in title glory and now he will be hoping that his efforts for the team will be enough to earn greater protagonism in the coming months.