Sinan Guler can look back on 2014 and know that he gave everything he had to help both his Turkish national team and Galatasaray have success.
Guler was a real marathon man, a high-energy guard who rarely left the floor for club and country.
When his national side travelled to Bilbao, Spain, to play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Guler helped them reach the Quarter-Finals, which is where their dream run came to an end in a defeat to Lithuania.
Ever since, Guler has been donning the Galatasaray shirt and helping them punch their ticket to the Top 16 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.
Guler, who turned 31 in November, hasn’t stopped playing.
At the World Cup, he averaged more than 30 minutes per game.
He was spectacular at times.
In the Euroleague, he has averaged 26:34 of court time.
“It’s tough,” Guler said of playing so often, and so many minutes.
“The schedule doesn’t really stop, but we are used to it.
“Physically, after a while, it gets a little tiring but we have to go out on the court no matter what.”
Guler understands that playing basketball is a privilege and that it’s helped him earn a good living.
On the other hand, though, it can be flat out exhausting at times.
“What I say mostly about playing pro sports is it’s maybe the most unhealthy thing you can do,” Guler said, albeit with a smile.
“For us, especially us national team players, we get 20, 25 days off and also with the Euroleague, it’s tough.
“But, it’s where we make our money from so we have to make sure that we are physically ready and smart with what we do outside the basketball court.”
One reason why Guler plays so many minutes is that his coach of both the national team and Galataray, Ergin Ataman, trusts him.
“I’m glad that he’s giving me the chance,” Guler said.
“I’ve usually been on the court for my defense in the past but now I’m getting a chance to do other things, especially lately with the injuries that we’ve (Galatasaray) had and the rotation getting smaller and smaller.
“I’ve had to do both things well on both sides of the court.”
The high point of Guler’s career was to play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup that Turkey hosted in 2010.
They won all of their games before falling to the United States in the title game.
This year, Turkey raised a lot of eyebrows with their performances.
They gave the eventual winners, the USA, their hardest test in the tournament.
Turkey lost but grew in self-belief with their performances.
“I think we caught them off guard with our match-up zone defense,” Guler said. “They didn’t know what they were looking for.
“They are a team that wants to pressure you and get fast-breaks by playing tough, aggressive defense.
“I think we caught them off guard by making our shots from the beginning and making a defense that they hadn’t seen yet.”
While they didn’t get to the podium, on balance, Turkey’s performance in Spain was positive.
“It was a different year because it was the first year with coach Ataman at the national team and most of the players that he brought in played with him (at clubs) and knew about his character and what kind of team he wants.
“Overall, after the tournament started, even though it took a while for us to find the perfect rhythm that we wanted, we played good basketball to win games.
“With a little more physical stamina, we maybe could have won one more game to get to the Semi-Finals.
Guler showed great sportsmanship after the World Cup, saluting Lithuania and his Galatasaray teammate, Martynas Pocius.