H: 6' 6"|
W: 200 lbs
(29 Years Old)
|Agent: Misko Raznatovic ||
Hometown: Kadikoy, Turkey
Drafted: Pick 59 in 2005 by Hawks
Coupling with Ilyasova, they formed the most dangerous and spectacular duo in the tournament. Actually, they were the only drafted guys taking part in the championship. Free of the huge offensive responsibilities that he assumed (and defensive attention that he suffered) in the European Junior Championship last summer in Belgrade, Akyol materialized his nice shooting stroke with much better percentages, showcasing his range and ability to fire off the dribble, even in some complicated situations. Earning a place on the All-Tournament Team, he was a pleasure to watch as always, displaying his very fundamentally sound game, working off the dribble, passing the ball, taking decisions, and showing a lot of character. He is a winner, and cried like a baby after losing the gold in the final, actually the fourth consecutive summer that it happens to him.[Read Full Article]
The Turkish team is facing a difficult task after refreshing its roster and inviting some of the country's most talented teenage players. The hope is they will learn from this experience and lead Turkey to bigger and better things down the road in the upcoming European Championships and, in the long-run, in the next World Championships that will be hosted by Turkey four years from now.
One of the potential stars is Cenk Akyol, a wunderkid for Efes Pilsen, who will have all the tools to help with the team's scoring load and leadership. He is a decently, but not freakishly athletic guard with nice shooting touch, creativity, and the necessary mental tools to succeed in the international game and, under some circumstances, in the NBA. He presents excellent size and nice ball-handling skills, while he has enough experience for his age thanks to the faith the National Team has shown in him over recent years and his status as a Euroleague player at Efes Pilsen.
His shooting touch, though streaky at times, has lately improved and, as he is a player whose game depends on confidence and playing time, he sill be doing better as soon as he stays for longer stretches on court.
Although Akyol is a natural basketball talent with a great feel for the game and a potential steal for the Atlanta Hawks (who drafted him late in the 2nd round last year) down the road; he certainly has his shortcomings. As noted before, the worries concerning his athleticism are not that serious at this level, but can still be an issue, particularly as far as the NBA is concerned.
He is big enough to be a defensive factor, but lacks the lateral quickness to follow athletic off-guards on defense, something that could be a problem in the international competition too. More than that and moving again to the offense, his ability to finish around the basket is limited, despite his nice slashing skills. He has the smarts, but not the physical tools and the leaping ability to finish strong, especially in traffic.
Playing for one of the best European teams and also being a constant star for the junior National teams of Turkey, Akyol definitely has all the necessary tools to succeed in the near future and evolve into senior National team's starting shooting guard. He will be seeing good minutes off the bench already starting this summer and his great tournament in the U-20 European Championships has likely helped boost his morale, playing steadily and in high standards throughout the preparation games.
There is no doubt that Cenk Akyol is a very valuable player for Turkey, especially in the future. After shining at the U18 European Championships with the Turkish team, he is currently preparing with the Turkish national team for Belgrade. It was clear to see that Akyol looks a little tired. An ollness also forced him to be out of the team for a few days.
Akyol is a shooting guard with the ability to also run the point very well. He can shoot, penetrate and dish out several assists per game. He is not a spectacular player but everything he does on the court is well considered and often ends up being positive for his team.
In the scenario that Akyol will play in Belgrade it would be obvious that he could have much more room than he was used to playing at the U-18 European Championships in Belgrade. And without any doubt he has shown to be ready to play for this team and be a member for many years.
But there are some critical points. First we have to wait until the final roster will be announced by Tanjevic. It's a big probability that fans will see him on this roster but, not making it shouldn't come as a huge surprise since only 10 of 12 players are safe at the moment. Akyol is tired and had an illness which caused him to be out for few days. So, at the end of the day it will be the coachís decision.
But in case he will be on the roster it will be interesting to see how much playing time he will get. Especially the shooting guard position is filled with very good players like Kutluay and Erdogan. But there is a lack in the roster at the small forward position. For now there is no real small forward who can back up TŁrkoglu. Akyol might be used as a shooting guard if one of the duo Kutluay-Erdogan will be placed at the three.
We already said it in our previous reports: he was the true MVP of the championship for us. Nobody here featured such a magnificent combination of skills, decision making, character and leadership. Akyol is an extremely fundamentally sound player that knows the game as well as anybody, a finesse player with highly polished skills. Heís a shooting guard with the soul of a playmaker, a stylish big combo guard who is a pleasure to watch.
Not the greatest athlete, Akyol makes up for his relative lack of quickness (letís stress relative) with amazing footwork, and somehow compensates his average athleticism with the fact that he can be a true playmaker on the offensive end at 6-6. In this tournament, we saw him starting games numerous times at the shooting guard position, only to later fully assume the playmaking duties whenever the situation required an offensive spark for Turkey, while being the man in charge in every clutch situation.
He was the clearest example of go-to player seen in Belgrade. For some stretches of the games, virtually all the offensive flow of his team was in his hands. Curiously, these were often his most effective moments, because if thereís something you can miss in his performance, particularly for those who werenít in Belgrade, itís a higher degree of accuracy in his shots. However, what looks awful in the stat sheet, looked totally acceptable on the court, and highly effective in the end.
So despite what those stats tell, Akyol is a fine shooter, with the right mechanics and quickness to be effective, although a bit streaky from the perimeter. He was among the best in Belgrade firing off the dribble, and even has the ability to use the fade away movement. To be able to create his own shot is a crucial skill in his game, as he took advantage of this threat to beat his matchups and generate an important offensive flow from there. Cenk is a great decision maker, and with the defensive structure broken, itís just a piece of cake for him, opting between feeding an open man, shooting a mid-ranger or going all the way to the basket to deliver a layup. He has the resources to score against opposition here using his soft touch for complicated layups, or elevating for short attempts while in motion.
His decision making couldnít be nearly as good as it is without his remarkable court vision. Just as the top point guards of the tournament, he is also a very good creator from the perimeter. Indeed he was statistically the fifth best passer of the Championship.
Sometimes he was impelled to force too much in certain situations, not only because of his leading role and freedom to play, but especially because his team needed him to make things happen in the offensive end. That meant taking the initiative, attracting defenses and opening up the game for his mates. This is a big reason for his bad percentages. It was especially obvious in the semifinal and the final, games where he was constantly over-defended, but his team needed him to run the offense, and that included some shooting.
On defense, heís decent. Heís not athletic enough to be a defensive stopper, but his knowledge of the game helps him in terms of positioning and effectiveness, usually coming away with a nice amount of steals in his bag (ranked first in Belgrade in this department).
To summarize, Akyol is an awesome player and the guy who arguably showed the most varied array of skills in Belgrade. Iím confident he will reach the elite in Europe. NBA-wise, itís harder to predict. Itís rare to see a guard with average athleticism succeeding in such a demanding league (particularly a shooting guard). It takes an amazing collection of skills and smartness playing the game. However, Akyol might be capable of delivering them.
Akyol is fundamentally sound. He won't jump out at you with freakish athleticism or skills, but he has good size (featuring a long wingspan) and some quickness, and he does a little of everything and almost always very well. He reveals his high basketball IQ by making good decisions with confidence. He never hides when it comes to taking responsibility.
Cenk was the leader of the Turkish team that won the silver medal in last year's European Cadet Championships. Back then he was playing many minutes as a point guard, so it comes as no surprise to see those skills come to play in his game, especially his ball handling and court vision. Shooting is not his strength, and although his mechanics are good, he usually struggles behind the arc. He has a nice first step to penetrate and knows how to drive to the basket, even in a crowd. Defensively, he holds his own.
He's not a player that makes you think about the NBA, but he might be the kind of guy who quietly develops into an interesting prospect. As one of the few players born in 1987, he enjoyed a very good tournament while helping Turkey to the silver medal.