Alba Berlin added one of Germany’s top young point guard talents in acquiring U18 international Ismet Akpinar on a four-year deal starting this summer.
Akpinar arrives in the German capital after playing the last two seasons with the Rist Wedel third division ProB club as well as the Piraten Hamburg U19 NBBL and U16 JBBL teams.
“Everybody knows that it’s not easy to get playing time in Alba. But I will give my best at every practice and want to prove to (head coach Sasa) Obradovic that I can play and that he can trust me,” Akpinar told heinnews.
“In the past years, Obradovic is one of the best coaches for young point guard. I talked with him and he is positive about next season. Also I can learn a lot from DaShaun Wood and Heiko Schaffartzik, for example how they play pick-and-roll and how they score against taller players.”
“Ismet is not only very talented basketball-wise but he also has very important qualities such as determination, diligence and ambition. We will be patient in bringing him into the professional team,” said Berlin’s sports director Mithat Demirel.
“I love challenges, so I am very happy that I can continue to develop at Alba Berlin and be part of the best basketball program in Germany,” said Akpinar, a Hamburg native who turns 18 on May 22.
“I don’t know the intensity of the BBL. I have never played a BBL game. But like I said, Obradovic wants to let me play and I will give my best.”
The announcement comes two days before Akpinar will join Alba at the Nike International Junior Tournament in Belgrade.
The point guard was named the MVP of the U16 JBBL for the 2010-11 season as he collected 19.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Akpinar jumped to the U19 NBBL league last season while also playing in the ProB for Rist Wedel. He was named Rookie of the Year in the NBBL for averaging 14.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. In 24 ProB games, he averaged 5.9 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 rebounds.
This season, Akpinar was averaging 6.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in the ProB for Wedel while starring in the NBBL with 18.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
On February 3, Akpinar scored 49 points in just 28 minutes for Piraten Hamburg against Metropol Baskets Ruhr.
Before Akpinar joins Alba, he will have some unfinished business with the German U18 national team. He was part of the U18 team last summer that was relegated to Division B despite some amazing talent. Now Akpinar wants to get Germany back up to Division A this summer.
“Last summer was really bad. We wanted to play a lot better. We had so much potential. We had great players at every position. We lost the first three games against Spain and Serbia. But the loss against Ukraine was horrible from our side. But it was our fault. Now this summer we have the B championship and we have to climb back,” Akpinar told heinnews at the NBBL All-Star Game in January.
“We have to show that we are an A team in Europe. Every player is fully motivated and I think we will definitely go up. That’s our goal.”