PHILADELPHIA – Life, no doubt, moved at warp-speed pace for Furkan Korkmaz during his 10-day summer league stint with the 76ers, but, for the moment, he seems to have no intention of slowing down.
Last Saturday, the day after the Sixers’ exited the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League tournament with a consolation game loss to the Chicago Bulls, the 19-year old hopped on a transatlantic flight to Greece, where he linked up with his fellow countrymen to play for Turkey in the FIBA Under-20 European Championships.
Korkmaz and Turkey’s first game was Monday, a 71-54 defeat to France. In 22 minutes off the bench, he scored four points (2-11 fg, 0-2 3fg), while posting a rebound, an assist, and a steal. Germany awaits Wednesday.
Prior to parting ways with the Sixers for the rest of the summer, Korkmaz spoke about the importance of representing Turkey not only now, but again in August and September, when the senior national team plays in the EuroBasket competition.
“I think it’s going to help me a lot,” he said. “The whole experience to play, to see the challenge.”
After inking his first NBA contract on July 4th, Korkmaz, the 26th overall selection in the 2016 draft, went on to appear in seven summer league contests for the Sixers. He reached double-digits five times, averaging 12.3 points (43.7 fg%, 32.5 3fg%), 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in almost 25 minutes per game. His last two outings were particularly impressive, as he totaled 41 points on 17 of 30 shooting.
For Korkmaz, perhaps the biggest benefit he gained from time spent in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas was a growing sense of self-assuredness that he could hold his own among NBA athletes.
“It’s all about I think more to feel confidence, when you start to feel comfort and confidence,” he said.
Last week, as Korkmaz looked beyond his remaining summer duties with the Turkish national program, he expressed excitement about launching his Sixers career in earnest. The swingman felt good that a visit with the club in June, plus summer league, afforded him the chance to get to know future teammates better.
“I can’t wait to play in front of [fans],” said Korkmaz, who a season ago split time between Turkish teams Anadolu Efes and Banvit Basket. “I think the time is counting down. I just can’t wait to play for this jersey in the regular season.”
Until then, there are still summer goals to accomplish. Korkmaz said in Las Vegas he wants to improve his handle, and add more weight to his lanky 6-foot-7, 180-pound frame.
“I know I have to be better and better,” Korkmaz said. “All those skills, there’s no time to just rest.”
A belief that’s being backed up by action.