You were born in Macedonia. How do you end up in Turkey?
Cedi Osman: I was born in Macedonia, but when I was 4 I moved to Bosnia. I lived there and played for Bosna Sarajevo. Then managers came from Turkey and selected me to come to Turkey and see how I played. I go for like three days, they like me and they selected me. They told me to come to Turkey with my family. That's how the journey starts.
How do you start playing?
CO: It was just a hobby at the beginning. After school, I would come back and had too much energy. I still have too much energy. My parents played basketball in the past, so they told me to start playing basketball too as a hobby because of this much energy that I had. Then it continues and I tried to really become good at it. Then the managers from Turkey came, went to Turkey and started growing up with them. They have helped me a lot.
When did you realize that this was going to be your job?
CO: When I came to Turkey at 13, that's when I thought the journey was starting. My years in Bosnia were good, but it's not like in Turkey. There's more options to work on your game in Istanbul. That's why I moved there. That's when I started to believe in myself and that's when my family started to believe in me. It's not like they didn't believe in me in the past, but in Turkey everything changed.
How does it feel to play at your first World Cup?
CO: I always wanted to play against the United States, against NBA players. Now I'm really happy because we had a good game Sunday [against the U.S.]. It was a good opportunity for me and I hope that I will see them again in the NBA. They are the best players in the NBA. I knew I was in for a tough game, but I was really excited. Playing against Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Rudy Gay… These are the players that I've always followed and like.
Which player impressed you the most?
CO: Kenneth Faried played good, but also I liked Irving. But if you ask me which player I like the most, I have to go with Kevin Durant. I wish he was here, but he didn't come.
So you like him better than LeBron?
CO: Physically, LeBron is more strong. But as far as scoring, I think Durant is better.
Which NBA player would you want to play like?
CO: I like Dirk Nowitzki. I always imagined that I would play power forward, but I play like a 2 or 3 more. So I would say Kevin Durant again. I think small forward is my natural position.
You had a pretty summer being MVP of the Under 20 European Championship and winning gold. You talked about how important chemistry was for the junior team there. How would you compare it to the chemistry of the National Team?
CO: It's really different. We have a player that's in the NBA and we have veterans that have played for great teams like Real Madrid. They know what to do. It's different, but we have good chemistry and we showed Sunday against the United States of America.
You're going to play this season for Euro legend Dusan Ivkovic, who's known as a tough coach. How do you feel about the challenge of playing for him?
CO: First of all, I feel lucky. He's one of the best coaches in Europe, maybe the best. Now it's my job to work hard to try to learn something from him. If he gives me a good chance and I use it in a good way, I will have a good season.
Is the NBA something you look in the near future?
CO: I want to play in the NBA early, but first of all I need a good year with Efes. I want to to be some titles – Euroleague, Turkish League, Turkish Cup… Then I want to go to the NBA. But having played against NBA guys Sunday, I can see that I must work a lot, a lot, a lot. I though that I could do something, but you see Rose, Irving or Stephen Curry, I can see that I'm behind them and I have to work a lot.
So probably not something for next year?
CO: I would go to draft this year and we'll see what happens. I can't say nothing now. I have 4+1 contract with Efes. You can't know.