Things One Does Not Know About One's Own TownThis last basketball season Mersin had an American starring for them. Here are a few excerpts from am April EuroBasket article:
Where would the Mersin men's basketball team be without Ryan Sidney (188-G-82, college: Boston Coll.)? Not in Division 1, that's for sure.
Thanks in large part to its American star, Division 2 Mersin clinched a promotion to Division 1 last week. But whether Sidney will still be around next year remains to be seen. By averaging more than 30 points a game, he may have put himself out of Mersin's price range.
Ideally, Sidney would like to play in the NBA next year. But he understands that he might have to put in a few more years overseas before he gets a shot. And that's fine with him - as long as he's getting paid.
Sidney says that even with incentives, he will probably only make $55,000 U.S. this year. He's hoping his strong play will convince Mersin, or another team in Turkey or elsewhere, to offer him more money.
"I'm just looking to get paid six figures man, I'm not going to lie to nobody," he says. "Ryan G loves the game of basketball and just wants to get paid for it."
Mersin coach Muhamed Rebah Sidali says the team would love to re-sign him, but expects to have to compete for his services after his strong season in Turkey.
Sidney says he enjoys living in Mersin, a warm weather city on Turkey's southern coast.
"It's like Miami," he says. "Eighty degrees every day. In the next couple of months, it's going to get so hot, to the point where people don't go outside."
Having lived most of his life in Michigan and Boston, that's too warm for him.
"I can't take heat like that," he says. "I'm just trying to win all my games and get up out of here."
When he's not playing basketball, Sidney generally keeps to himself in Turkey, though he does occasionally get a chance to hang out with the few Americans he has met. In Mersin, he only knows one American couple, but he has also met a few Americans who live at Incirlik air base in nearby Adana. When he has an off day in Istanbul, he often hangs out with other American basketball players who live there.
"I don't try to get out much," Sidney says. "I try to stick to myself. I've pretty much figured out how to make it through without getting in anyone's way. I'm writing a journal and reading a lot of books. It maintains my mind until I get out of here."
I had to laugh at the last bit :-)