Hidayet Turkoglu’s FIBA U17 World Cup dream
Juan Antonio Belmar
June 5, 2024

From July 29 to 7, the best teams in the U17 men’s basketball category will compete to try to dethrone the United States, who in the 7 previous editions have taken the first place in this FIBA World Cup, increasing the American power among the minors.

It is impossible not to refer to the magical city of Istanbul, the next stop for 256 young basketball players from 16 countries, including the Turkish national team, which qualified in its own right for the most important event in this projection division.

Istanbul has a timeless charm, its prodigious history and permanent economic activity is due to its position on the map between two streams of civilization: that from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea and from Europe to Asia. U17 World Cup participants will be blown away by the beauty of Sultanahmet Square from where two of its most important monuments can be easily seen: Hagia Sophia, the famous 6th century basilica and, the Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

Istanbul has a great tradition with sports, particularly with soccer and basketball, the latter with a solid and robust federation, protagonist of adult and also youth world championships, currently presided over by Hidayet Turkoglu, the first Turkish basketball player chosen for the best quintet of NBA rookies in his time.

This 2.08-meter forward was elected in 2016 to the presidency of the Turkish Basketball Federation and, among the first measures he took, was to desist from the World Cup bid projected for 2023, noting that his “work will be focused primarily on the youth, we have to be able to go to the grassroots, there are the talents, but unfortunately, we stay only in the elite. My vision and also going beyond my personal experiences, I believe that in the near future we can aspire to an adult World Cup, but first we will go for the youngsters”, he said at that time. Time and Hidayet Turkoglu’s own experience have proved him right and today they are going for a greater goal: to be protagonists of this U17 World Cup, not only to participate in this category, but to compete at the highest level.


Group C – where Turkey is – is completed by Argentina, Italy and New Zealand and the Turkish team aspires to reach the round of 16.

The Istanbul venue meets all the requirements: it is a first-class venue, it was observed in February of this year by the members of the FIBA Monitoring Commission and the level of expectations of the President of the World Basketball Federation himself, Qatari Ali Al Thani, expressed it publicly: “Istanbul is a wonderful venue, it meets the highest standards of organization and sporting venues. But it is also a city that hosts great sporting events and it is a source of pride that these young people not only compete, but also learn about the history of Turkey and take home the best memories, because these opportunities are unique at this age”.

The U17 World Cup is coming with everything, including Group A with Spain, Lithuania, Philippines and Puerto Rico. Group B will feature the United States, China, France and Guinea and Group D will feature Egypt, Germany, Canada and Australia. It only remains to wait, the bets are open for the favorites, according to the last World Cup in 2022, in Malaga, USA will go for an unprecedented mark its eighth consecutive World Cup … and Spain with the intention of toppling the giant.

Istanbul will be the place where the stars of tomorrow shine on the international stage, the magical city is eager for an event like this, the dream and the bet of Hidayet Turkoglu will come true. This is the first step to lay the foundations of a sport that will prevail in time, where young people from different latitudes of the world will compete and feed on the best experiences and be able to capture every moment in their minds so that in the near future this meeting point will be a great motivation to continue growing.

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