HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Free agent Marial Shayok of Ottawa has moved up in the basketball world, after signing a contract with the No. 5 men’s team in Europe based on EuroBasket’s top-100 list.
After a successful first, but short, European season in 2020-21 with Frutti Extra Bursaspor, and almost leading them into the Turkish Basketball Super League playoffs, Shayok will join Istanbul’s Fenerbahce Beko for 2021-22.
Shayok, a small forward, was added to the Bursaspor roster halfway through last season. He was a dominant player and at the end of the season was voted a Eurobasket.com All-Turkish League honourable mention.
Bursapor signed the former Iowa State University Cyclones star after he was put on waivers by NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. He was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round and 54th overall in the 2019 draft.
The offensive and defensive presence of Shayok helped Bursapor move up the bottom half of the standings to finish ninth in the 16-team loop, 13-17. He only played a dozen regular-season games, but he had a definite impact.
Shayok finished second in Basketball Super League scoring with an 18.9 point-per-game average. He also averaged 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game. His all-around game and enthusiasm could be a missing link for Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahce finished second in the BSL this season at 22-8, while Anadolu Efes won the league regular season at 29-1. Both teams reached the playoff final and Anadolu Efes swept Fenerbahce 3-0.
Anadolu Efes are ranked No. 3 on EuroBasket’s Top-100 list and the top two spots belong to teams from Spain – Barca, No. 1, 56-14; and Real Madrid, No. 2, 54-16.
In the wake of Fenerbahce’s championship loss Monday, there was talk in European basketball circles the double runner-up was interested in signing Shayok. The announcement was made public Friday on eurobasket.com.
Fenerbahce also placed eighth in the EuroLeague standings at 20-14. In the playoff quarterfinals, Fenerbahce played first-place CSKA Moscow and was swept in the best-of-five series 3-0.
When Shayok joins Fenerbahce, he’ll be one of four players on the roster who have been drafted by NBA teams, all in the second round. He’ll also play with Canadian small forward Dyshawn Pierre of Whitby, ON.
The other three Fenerbahce players selected in the NBA draft are shooting guard Nando De Colo, San Antonio, 2009; 7-0 centre Jan Vesely, Washington, 2011; and power forward Kyle O’Quinn, Orlando, 2012.
Shayok’s performance in Turkey shouldn’t be a surprise. He was a dominant player for the Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers development team in the G-League, averaging 23.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists a game.
Fenerbahce will play its 108th men’s basketball season in 2021-22. Basketball is one of 10 sports at Fenerbahce S.K., which is a major Turkish multi-sport club in Istanbul.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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