Volume 16, Number 6
October 20, 2009

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Sport: Success Stories and Quotes from Student Athletes

fatihCem Dinç was the young star of Turkish national basketball team in 2006. This semester he will be studying at Bilkent as an exchange student from Harvard University. Dinç enrolled at Harvard University in the fall of 2007, and is expected to graduate with an A.B. in Economics in 2010. In this interview, he talks about his remarkable sports career and highly successful educational endeavors.

How did you first encounter sports? Tell us about your sports career since then.
My father, a medical doctor, was a former national champion in the 110 m hurdles. He inspired me to get involved with sports. He also helped me work on my strength, speed and agility. I played high school basketball in Germany, and after playing on several teams there, I moved to the United States for college basketball.

cem dinçI was invited to join the Turkish National Team after I graduated from high school in 2005. I was named to the Turkish team in order to participate in the European Basketball Championship 2005 in Serbia, as well as the World Basketball Championship in 2006 in Japan. I played with Hidayet Türkoğlu and Mehmet Okur on the Turkish team. I gained more experience matching up against NBA players such as Tony Parker and Andrei Kirilenko in the international tournaments.

What can say you about your education and the choice of Bilkent University?
First of all, I never delayed my academic plans for the sake of being a professional athlete. I have always tried to pursue a sports career while at the same time juggling an education. And I even took a long break in basketball to achieve my academic goals. While carrying out my studies in the United States, I read many academic articles written by Bilkent University professors. Additionally, I have felt an intense desire to live in Turkey for a long time. These are the reasons why I chose Bilkent University and the city, Ankara. Now, I'm so glad to be here and everybody treats me like a close friend.

“It was my childhood dream to be a member of Turkish National Team”

Describe what is is like to be such a famous athlete.
cem dinçIt was my childhood dream to be a member of the Turkish National Team. I was following the 2001 European Championship on TV. Hidayet Türkoğlu was my role model. I remember that one night I was in a kebapçı in Germany in 2004, while watching the matches of Turkish team against U.S. Dream Team. Then, who could have guessed that I would be among those stars, joking with them in the dressing room just a year later.

What are your future plans?
At the moment, I consider on my academic career a priority. After I graduate, I might take an active role as an athlete in any basketball organization again. I really miss basketball and having those indescribable feelings.


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