After two seasons away from Turkey’s top flight, Eskişehir Basket are back and they have no intentions of dropping back down to the second tier TBL.
The newly promoted side have brought in Spanish head coach Josep Maria Berrocal, who replaces Brad Greenberg and along with former Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs forward Jeff Ayres and Billy Baron, Eskişehir also signed veteran EJ Rowland, who has enjoyed a two-year stint in Turkey with Banvit between 2013 and 2015. The American moved to Eskişehir from Khimki where he averaged 10.9 points and 3.9 assists in the EuroCup last season.
Throughout his 12-year professional career, Rowland has journeyed around Europe since 2007 when he played in Latvia but admits that heading to Turkey for another crack at the BSL, a league that boasts EuroLeague champions Fenerbahce as well as Anadolu Efes, Galatasaray and Darussafaka Basket will be a difficult challenge, mixed in with joining a newly promoted side with big plans will present Rowland with arguably his toughest test yet.
The 34-year-old, however is looking forward to building the franchise up and being part of something greater than being the new kids on the block, merely looking to survive in the land of the giants.
“After speaking with my agent and coach Berrocal I learned that Eskişehir has big plans for the future and I have a chance to help build something,” Rowland said to TalkBasket.
Wheels down in Turkey. The GRRRind officially begins
— E.J. Rowland (@Euro_E_Row) August 14, 2017
“I’m just getting settled here so I haven’t had the opportunity to see the city at all but I’ve heard good things. I also heard the fans support is good and should be even better this year in the first division.”
Eskişehir begin the domestic season in Turkey on October 8 at home against Istanbul BB followed by Rowland facing his old club Banvit on the 14th. They then host their first EuroLeague side the week after when they take on Anadolu Efes.