Wednesday, December 19, 2012

3 in a row

Driving baseline
Good evening!  I just arrived home from a great mushroom and swiss burger at a local restaurant after our win!  We played a tough team and ended up winning 87-81.  It was a great win for us.  Our record now stands at 6-5 in the league.  We have now won 3 in a row.  We are on a nice streak right now, but we need to continue to have great practices and stay focused.  We had an early game today at 1pm, and there were not many fans there until some 300-400 students came rolling in.  It was great having a little student section.  Felt like I was back at NDSU.  It was a very physical game today.  I have a feeling that I am going to be a bit sore tomorrow morning.  My foot injury doesn't help.  I found out that I have some bad tendinitis on the soft tissue under my foot.  It is very acute and quite painful.  I took some pills before the game which helped ease the pain a bit but I could still feel it.  I am icing as we speak so hopefully that will help a bit.

Finishing a lay-up
I ended in the game with 18 points (4-6 2fg, 2-3 3fg, 4-4 ft), 2 rebounds, and 7 assists.  We had 4 guys in double figures.  Its great when you have multiple guys with double figures, it means that you are moving the ball well and finding the open guy.  Our next game is on Saturday vs Turk Telecom.  It will be another tough game for us.  We need to be mentally ready.  I am looking forward to it because my Dad will be here to watch.  He hasn't seem a game for awhile so it will be nice playing in front of him.  We are really looking forward to having him here over Christmas.

Otherwise not much else going on here.  I highly suggest you check out my wife's website..  She has changed a couple features on it, and it keeps getting better and better.  She definitely has multiple hidden talents!  Thats all from Turkey!  Have a blessed Wednesday!  God Bless.. 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2 in a row

Good Evening from Turkey!  How are you all doing?  The latest here in Turkey is that we came away with our second straight win and our first road win of the season.  We played Olin Edrine last night and won 76-70.  It was a wonderful win for us.  Edrine is a tough place to play.  They have some great and enthusiastic fans.  Actually, in the first quarter the refs had to leave the floor because the fans were making threatening comments to them.  Security and cops had to sit in front of the fans to make sure they didn't cause any more trouble.  The refs were back in their locker room for about 10 minutes and then came back out and the game resumed.  It was close throughout the entire game.  I stepped up to the free throw line with 17 secs to go (we were up by 2) and made both free throws to make it a two possession game and basically seal the game for us.  I ended the game with 7 points (1-5 2fg, 1-3 3fg, 2-2 ft) 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in 26 minutes of play.  We play again on Wednesdays vs a tough Erdemir team.  Then we play again on Saturday.  I am looking forward to a week full of games.  Three games in a week is awesome!

Some other news from Turkey, I had an X-Ray on my foot last night.  Not exactly sure what the problem is.  I have tremendous acute pain at the bottom of my right foot.  I am thinking it is a bone bruise but I am not sure.  I will find out from the Dr. tomorrow.  More importantly, I ask that you pray for the families who were affected by that terrible event out in CT.  The more prayers the better.  My heart absolutely broke when I heard about the news.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  I hope that you all have a wonderful Sunday afternoon and night.  We are going to grill some steak and watch some football!  God Bless.... Mark 10:13-16

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Big Win

Calling a play
Good evening!!  I am going to jump right into things for you.  We won a huge game last night 86-85 vs Efes.  It was a great win for our club.  If we were to lose that game we would have dropped to 13th place in the league.  Instead, we are tied for 7th with 3 other teams.  Remember the top 8 teams at the end of the year go to the playoffs.

We started out extremely slow in the 1st quarter and found ourselves down by 18 points.  We gradually fought our way back and were down only 7 points at half.  In the 2nd half we buckled down on defense and had some wonderful offensive positions.  We found ourselves up 4 points with a minute to play.  Then, Efes stopped us on our next offensive possession.  They had the ball with 30 some secs to go and down 2 points.  They missed a shot, but got an offensive rebound.  With 10 seconds remaining it was Jordan Farmar and myself one on one at the top.  He made a strong right handed drive,  I was riding his hip when one of our big men stepped up and committed a blocking foul with .9 secs left.  He made the first shot, Efes down 1.  He missed the 2nd free throw and that is the ball game folks.  It was a great comeback win for us.  I ended the game with 4 points (1-3 2fg, 0-2 3fg, 2-4 ft), 8 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal.  It puts us at 4-5 in the league.  Our next game is on the road vs. Olin Edrine.  They have a record of 3-6.  It will be a tough match for us on the road.  We play again Saturday.
One on one vs Farmar
One on one vs Farmar

Other than that not much else going on here.  Congrats to the NDSU football team for winning their quarterfinal game and good luck in the semis.  Also,  NDSU mens hoops team is playing the gophers tonight.  Upset?  I hope everyone is bundling up back home.  I hear that the weather is crazy right now.  Have a wonderful Tuesday night!  God Bless...
Isaiah 40:8

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dropped another close one

Hey everyone!  I wanted to write you quick before I head to practice this afternoon.  Our last game we played Aliaga in Izmir, Turkey and we lost 70-68.  It was an extremely physical game.  Mentally and physically draining!  We made some significant improvements on defense and held the other team to just 70 points.  Our problem this game was no one could make an outside jumper.  We shot a terrible 22% from 3pt.  That was basically the difference in the game.  We are currently tied for 7th at 3-5 with 4 other teams.  Our next game is against Efes.  Efes is one of the powerhouse teams here in Turkey.  We play them at home, and hopefully we can get a packed house for the game.  Last game I had 9 points (2-6 2fg, 1-5 3fg, 2-2 ft), 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal.  Hopefully we can try and pick up a win against Efes on Monday.

Sorry this is so short I have to jet to practice.  Everything else is going great here in Turkey.  We, I mean my wife put up our Christmas tree the other day and it looks AWESOME!  We are definitely in the Christmas spirit already over here!  Like I mentioned before my dad is coming over later in Dec and we are extremely stoked about it.  Looking forward to having some family here over Christmas.  Have a wonderful afternoon and God Bless.. Romans 12: 3-8  

Ps-  You gotta check our my wife's new post she put on her website!  It is fantastic!! !!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tough Loss

Good afternoon from Turkey!  I am waiting to go to our second practice today so I thought I would give you an update on how our last game went.  We suffered a tough 89-93 loss to Antalya (who was in last place in the league) at home.  We were ahead the entire game until the 4th quarter again.  In our last 2 losses both games we have lost the 4th and final quarter.  We definitely didn't play a very good game but it came down to the last couple minutes of regulation (I was on the bench), and they had a couple offensive rebounds and made a couple tough shots that made the difference in the end.  Both teams were playing hard but I gotta give credit to Antalya for their execution offensively as well as defensively.  They played a solid game, changing up defenses, playing a great pick and roll game and keeping us on our heels.  I ended the game with 10 points (2-4 2fg, 2-6 3fg), 3 assists, and 1 rebound.  It is the second game in a row that I haven't been to the FT line.  Thats quite an impressive stat considering I used to live at the FT (guess I gotta be more aggressive).  Our record stands at 3-4 in the league tied for 7th out of 16.

Driving to the bucket
Our next game is against Aliaga on the road out in Izmir, Turkey.  We need a solid week of practice to get better and work on the things that we struggle with.  I am looking forward to getting back in the gym and competing.  Our next game is on Sunday,  Dec. 2nd.  I can't believe it is almost December already, where has this year gone.  That is all the news from Turkey.  I hope you all were safe during Black Friday shopping and I hope you had a wonderful time with you family members over Thanksgiving! Have an amazing day!  God Bless!  Titus 2:11

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Hey everyone!  Sorry I haven't updated my blog recently.  I haven't really thought about my blog lately especially when we have family visiting.  AJ's folks visited us for 10 days and we all had a wonderful time!  You need to check out AJ's website for more details on their visit.

We have played two games since I last updated the blog.  The first game we played was 2 weeks ago and we came away with a 84-60 win over Hacettepe.  We played a great team game, coming away with 19 assists as a team.  We had 5 guys in double figures.  Ranging from 10 point to 18 points.  I had 10 points (3-7 2fg, 1-2 3fg, 1-2 ft), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal.  It was a great game for us to win since both teams where tied with a 2-2 record.  After that win our record stood at 3-2 in the league.

Our next game we played last Saturday was against Galatasaray up in Istanbul.  They are the only team that was unbeaten in the league, AND they are still the only team unbeaten in the league.  We got beat 90-66.  It was a rough game for us offensively and defensively.  We only had 3 guys in double figures. I ended the game with 3 points (0-2 2fg, 1-3 3fg,) 2 assists, and 1 rebound.  Even though we were struggling on offense and defense we still were only down 6 points going into the 4th quarter.  However they turned it up a notch and ran away with a convincing win.  We turned the ball over multiple times and they were forcing us into tough shots which lead to quick transition baskets for them.  Our record now stands at 3-3 and tied for 7th place in the league.

We were extremely happy and excited having AJ's parents over visiting us for 10 days.  It was great to see some family and enjoy the great company.  We are looking forward to my dad coming over during his Christmas break.  It will be great seeing more family and having more company during the holiday season!  Thats about all for now.  I have to run and get the door, the heating man is here to turn on our heat for the winter... BURRRR!!! Have a wonderful day! God Bless!  Psalm 62:8

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Hello!  Great afternoon to be alive and well :)!  I hope you all are having a great day.  I am excited to announce the arrival of the in-laws (Dave and Shayla) on Thursday!  AJ's parents are coming to Turkey to visit and we can't wait to see them.  We are looking forward to showing them around Ankara as well as other parts of Turkey.

Driving to the bucket
On some basketball news, we absolutely got destroyed in our game on Saturday.  We played a very talented and deep Banvit team.  We ended up losing 112-76.  We started off the game great.  After the first quarter it was 20-20.  Then all of a sudden we were down 20 points at half.  They beat us in every aspect of the game (transition, hustle, effort, shooting, defense,  offense, etc).  It was a rough game after the first quarter.  We sat down and looked at film yesterday on our mistakes and hopefully we can improve those for the next game.  To be honest it was a flat out ugly game on our part and I really can't say much more about it!  This week we need work hard and focus on our next opponent Hacettepe.  Our record stands at 2-2 in the league tied with 5 teams, Hacettepe being one of them.

Some stats from the last game.  Vanja lead the way for all scores with 15 points (4-6 2fg, 2-4 3fg, 1-2 ft), 5 rebounds.  Jovo had 13 points (5-10 2fg, 3-4 ft), 3 rebounds.  Nedim had 11 points (5-8 2fg, 1-3 ft), 6 rebounds.  Caner (our back up 2-3 man) had 12 points (6-8 2fg, 0-3 3fg), 2 rebounds.  Our starting 2-3 man Kirk Penney didn't play because of an Achilles injury.  I had 9 points (2-3 2fg, 1-2 3fg, 2-2 ft), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals.  Hopefully this weekend we can have a better effort and outcome.  I don't want to disappoint the in-laws while they are watching ;)!

That is all the updates from Ankara Turkey.  I see the Bison basketball just squeaked by the Dragons of Moorhead again with an OT win (wiping the sweat off the brow) in exhibition play.  I am looking forward to following their season this year..GO BISON!  Time to relax before practice number 2 of the day.  I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Tuesday.  Don't forget to be thankful and count your blessings today!  God Bless... 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nice home win

Good afternoon!  Its a beautiful 70 degree day here in Ankara, Turkey!  I just got back from our morning practice and thought it would be great to give you all an update about our last game.  We played at home on Saturday and won 91-73.  We played a great game from the start to the finish.  Right off the bat we started up 12-0.  We maintained about a 10 point lead throughout the first quarter and half of the second quarter.  However, the team we were playing came back and were only down 4 points at halftime.  Our opponent is a team that if they get hot and start shooting the ball well they can be dangerous and thats exactly what happened in the second quarter.  At half time we made some adjustments and increased the lead gradually throughout the 2nd half and ended up winning by 18.

KP (Kirk Penney) and I with the double team
As a team we played a great game.  We executed offensively and defensively just the way we prepared.  It was a great game for us to bounce back with after a heart breaking loss the previous weekend.  We had 3 guys in double figures.  Jovo lead all scorers with 26 points (11-16 2fg, 4-4 ft), 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.  Kirk Penney had 23 points (3-4 2fg, 5-7 3fg, 2-2 ft), 1 rebound, 2 assists.  Vanja (4 man) had 13 points (2-5 2fg, 2-4 3fg, 3-3 ft), 5 rebounds, 1 assist.  I ended the game with 8 points (3-4 2fg, 0-3 3fg, 2-2 ft), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.  Also, our other 4 man Nedim (who is leading the league in rebounds) had 8 points (3-6 2fg, 1-5 ft), 10 rebounds, and 2 assists.  Like I said before it was a solid game from our team and I was really happy with the win.  Our next oppenent is Banvit on the road.  We lost by 18 to them in a pre-season game.  They are a very talented team with a solid bench.  It will be another tough test for us on the road.  I am already looking forward to the game and it is 4 days away :)!

KP displaying his awesome triple threat haha!
Other than that not much exciting news.  I have been trying to stay in the Bible and read scripture on a daily basis and put what I read into my life.  My wife and I started a new TV series "Homeland" a couple days ago.  We have now already completed the first season because it is AMAZING!  I highly suggest it if you are looking at finding a new show.  Also, my wife updated her website about Turkish fashion if you are interested in checking it out her website is  What else... AJ got offered to be a photographer for an organization here in Turkey.  I thought that was pretty neat and I am excited for her to start.  Well, I need to grab some food and head back to our 2nd practice of the day.  I hope that you are all doing well.  Pray for those people on the east coast who are affected by the hurricane.  Have a blessed and amazing day.  Impact someone's life today :)!  God Bless.. John 6:27

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Unbelievable game

Good afternoon from Ankara, Turkey!  I hope you all are having a blessed day.  I am finally getting the opportunity to update you about our last game.  As you know we played arguably the top team in Turkey Fenebache Ulker last Sunday and lost 79-77 (their starting PG was hurt).  It was an unbelievable game and something that I have never been a part of before.  We basically controlled the whole game until the last 40 seconds.  We were up 2 points with 40 seconds to go inbounding the ball after they had just scored.  We couldn't make an inbound pass and had a turnover.  They make a 3 pointer the next possison to go up 1.  The next possession we miss.  We foul and they make 2 more FT putting them up 3 points.  They foul us and put us on the line and we make 1-2 FT, we are down 2 points.  Next possession we foul with 3 seconds to go.  Their player misses the first FT then misses the second FT.  We get the rebound take a couple dribbles and heave a 3/4 court shot and miss, game over.  Lost by 2 points.  It was an unreal ending to the game.  The last 40 seconds we did everything wrong in order to lose that game.  But, that is part of playing the whole 40 min.  I am proud of how are team played that game and am looking forward to getting on the court with them on Saturday.

Pick n roll defense 
Some interesting stats about the game.  They shot 40 FT compared to our 20 FT.  We out rebounded them 39 to 29.  We had 19 assists to their 7 assists.  We shot a better percentage from 2pt and 3pt.  We had 17 turnovers to their 9.  If you take a look at the stat sheet we played a great all around game.  A couple of mistakes cost us the game down the stretch.  It was a great effort on our part and we need to bounce back for this Saturday.  The reason why I stated I have never been a part of a game like this is because we basically needed to inbound the ball 1 last time and we would have had a great chance to win!  It was crazy.  Our record stands at 1-1.  That game is over now and our team is doing a great job of preparing for our up coming game.  We play this Saturday at home vs. Royal Hali Gaziantep BŞB.  They are a team that is 0-2, however they have talented players and they are extremely hungry for a win.  It will be a tough game for us and we need to be prepared to play ALL 40 min.

Individually we had solid performances from a number of our guys.  Jovo lead the way with 22 points (8-12 2fg, 0-1 3fg, 6-9 ft), 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Kirk Penney had 18 points (7-8 2fg, 1-4 3fg, 1-3 ft), 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.  Nedim had a great double double, 11 points (4-11 2fg, 3-4 ft), 16 rebounds, and 2 assists.  I had 15 points (3-7 2fg, 2-3 3fg, 3-4 ft), 2 rebounds, and 9 assists.

Not much else new here in Turkey.  We went out to eat for our teammates wife's birthday to a nice fish restaurant last night.  It was delicious!  HUGE S/O to Bryn Woodside and her AL Tiger Volleyball team for winning their first section game.  I can't remember the last time the Tiger VB won a section game.  Big Congrats to them!  Also, if you want to check out some photos of our new apartment you can check out my wife's website, she has a post about our apartment with pictures.  You all need to keep me updated on current events and what's going on back home via Twitter @benwoodside or Facebook!  Only so many times I can check the news online :)!  I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day.  Its a great day to give someone a compliment, make them smile, and don't expect anything in return :)!  God Bless... John 3:16  

Monday, October 15, 2012


Good evening from Turkey!  I am sorry that I have been a bit late in updating my blog recently.  We have had a busy week.  We are all moved into our new apt!  We are extremely happy and excited with our new spot.  Thanks again to the coaches, staff, and management for allowing us to get into the new apt.  We have been living here for 5 days now and we just received internet today.  Hence, why I have been absent from blogging.  I will be posting pictures of our new place on here soon.

Shot clock running down
We had our first Turkish league game on Saturday here in Ankara.  It was a great game and I am thankful and blessed that we came away with a victory.  I was extremely excited to get the season underway and it feels good to start the season off with a W.  We played a good Tofas team and ended up winning 81-72.  It was a wonderful team effort on our part.  We had four guys in double figures.  Kirk Penney had 15 points (4-6 2fg, 1-5 3fg, 4-5 ft) 5 rebounds, 4 assists.  Jovo (our 5 man) and Nedim (one of our 4 men) both had 14 points.  (4-11 2fg, 6-7 ft), 6 assists, 3 rebounds for Jovo.  (6-9 2fg, 2-4 ft), 11 rebounds for Nedim.  I had 12 points (2-4 2fg, 2-4 3fg, 2-4 ft), 5 assists, 5 rebounds.  I apologize for boggling your mind with some many numbers ha, but I told you I would be more specific when the regular season starts :).  We had a number of other guys make key plays down the stretch of the game as well.  As I said before it was a great team effort and win.  Our next opponent is Fenerbahce Ulker who is widely considered the favorite in the league.  They are a very deep and talented team.  We play them on  Oct. 22nd at their place.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this year I will only be playing one game per week.  It is a bit of an adjustment for me because previous seasons I have played multiple times per week.  With that being said we are 1-0 heading into our second league game next week.

Transition drive (gotta love the same facial feature
I have had since I started playing haha)
I want to mention that my wife has her own website that she created and I highly suggest you check it out.  It is an amazing and creative website.  Let me tell you it is much more interesting and entertaining then this blog LOL!  The website is  That is all the exciting news here in Ankara.  Have a happy and blessed Monday.  Try to make a positive impact on someone's life today.  You will be surprised how great YOU feel afterwards!  God Bless... Philippians 4:13

PS-  If you did indeed donate to my friend Rich on his missionary (check early postings if you don't know what I am talking about) I am grateful and extremely thankful that you helped him out!  Thanks again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Qualified for Turkish Cup

Hey everyone!  It is a wonderful brisk morning here in Ankara.  I can definitely tell that fall is right around the corner.  No more days of 95 degree's here.  I think my family could attest to this, we love the fall weather!  Nice and cool :)!

Action shot in Turk Telecom game
This past weekend we were in a tournament to see if we would qualify for the Turkish Cup that is later on in the season.  As you can tell from the title we qualified!  We played 3 games and went 2-1.  Our first game we lost by 19 to a very good Banvit team.  The different in the game was the 3rd quarter.  They outscored us 31-18 in the third.  Otherwise the game was pretty close.  I had 21 points (5-5 2fg, 1-3 3fg, 8-9 ft).  From what I remember, I believe we had two other guys in double figures.  Kirk Penney had 10 and Jovo (our 5 man) had 14.  Our second game we beat Tofas by 19.  They are a solid team and we actually found ourselves down 10 right off the bat.  I unfortunately had 5 fouls in 7 minutes of play.  I laugh about it now but I was upset at the time.  I have never done that in my entire life of basketball!  I would literally go in the game and 10 seconds later the whistle would be blowing and I would have another foul.  But it doesn't matter because our team did a great job coming back in the 2nd half.  It was great to see a lot of guys step up on the defensive end and make a comeback.  Kirk Penney led all scores with 21 points.  There were a number of guys in double figures that game and to be honest I can't remember the exact stats of everyone.  That put our record at 1-1 in the tournament heading into the last day.  For us to qualify we would need to beat Turk Telecom in the last game (who we lost to by 20 earlier in pre-season play).  Again at the beginning of the game we found ourselves down 36-18 in the first quarter.  We mounted a comeback and eventually won a close game 84-82.  It was a great team effort both defensively (minus the 1st quarter) and offensively.  A number of guys had outstanding performances.  One of our 4-men, Nedim did a great job on the glass collecting 12 rebounds (8 defensive, 4 offensive).  We had 3 guys in double figures.  Kirk Penney led the way with 29 points.  Jovo 14 points.  I had 19 points (5-5 2fg, 0-3 3fg 9-9 ft, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal).  It was a great comeback and effort to secure us a spot in the Turkish Cup later in the year.

Our next game is our first official regular season game here in Ankara.  We play Tofas who we just played in the tournament.  It will be a tough game for us since we just beat them the week before.  I am excited and looking forward to getting my 4th year of professional basketball underway.

On some other exciting news, AJ and I will be moving into our new apartment tonight.  We are extremely excited for it.  We are very thankful for the coaches and management at TED for being able to get us into a new apartment.  We can't thank them enough.  So, the rest of the afternoon I will be packing my bags for the move.  Side note,  Tiger Woods is here in Turkey playing in some golf tournament.  So I thought I would hit him up on twitter and see if he wanted to come to Ankara and I would show him around haha.  Unfortunately no returned message :)!  Thats all the exciting news from Ankara, Turkey.  Have a blessed Wednesday!  1 Peter 3:14-18

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ankara Tournament

Playing some"D"
Good morning!!  How are you doing on this wonderful Tuesday morning?  Things are going well here in Ankara, Turkey.  Recently we had a 4 team tournament here and ended up going 1-1 taking 2nd place.  Our first game was very exciting!  We won in the last possession.  The opposing team had a free throw to go up 1 with 12 seconds to go.  They missed the free throw but got the offensive rebound.  They were running the clock down to the final seconds.  The point guard asked for a high ball screen from there big man.  As he was driving to the basket I tipped the ball from behind him and our big man picked it up and passed it to our 2 guard (Kaya) who was running the floor.  He laid it in with 1 second to go, and thats the game folks!  It was quite the ending to our first game.

Our next game is a completely different story.  We didn't play well at all and ended up losing by 20.  Give credit to the other team they were way more aggressive than us on both ends of the floor.  We got off to an extremely slow start and were down 10 right away.  However coming out of halftime we battled back and ended up going up by 2 points in the 3rd quarter.  We couldn't sustain our intensity and ended up laying an egg and losing.  We definitely learned a lot from that game.  The next few days we watched film and looked at our mistakes as well as the things that we did well.  We are definitely getting more comfortable with each other and understanding the system better.  We will need to buckle down now since our season's first official game is October 13th.
Getting some instructions from Coach

Before our first game on the 13th we have a Turkish Cup qualifying tournament that we play at the end of this week.  These games count (not towards our league games) if we want to play for the Turkish Cup later on in the year.  We are playing 3 games in 3 days out in western Turkey.  If we are 1st or 2nd in our pool we qualify for the Turkish Cup.  Again, these games count but they aren't counted in terms of our league games.  It is kind of confusing but I hope I explained that well enough.

Shot clock running down, getting ready to play some "D"
Otherwise not much else going on here in Turkey.  Aj and I are still waiting on getting into a new apartment building.  We had a teammate Kirk Penney over for dinner the other night.  Grilled some steak and chicken with a side of potatos and peas.  It was delicious and it was great having some company over.  This past weekend we went out to a local cafe for one of Aj's American friends that lives here and celebrated her birthday.  We went to a country restaurant afterwards and that was quite the experience.  The restaurant was filled with people ranging from a Harley bikers to businessmen in there suits.  It was a great experience and Aj and I still laugh about it.  That is all from Ankara, Turkey. Forgot to mention that this Turkish Cup tournament is Friday-Sunday.  I will keep you posted on how it all goes.  Have a wonderful day!  God Bless.. Psalm 118:24

Ps-  If you donated to Rich Bowman I really appreciate it.  It is going to an amazing cause! If you have no clue what I am talking about I ask that you read my previous post.  Thanks again for your help :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Support My Friend on His Missionary

Good afternoon!  This post is going to be a bit different from my last few posts...Why? Because this post has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with supporting one of my friends on his missionary trip :)!  

A friend of mine (Rich Bowman II) a fellow college athlete (football) at NDSU is currently on a missionary trip through "WorldRace 11n11".  The link below is Rich's blog and gives you all the details about this mission trip, financially where he stands, etc.  11n11 stands for visiting 11 different countries in 11 months spreading the Word of God.  What an amazing experience!  Rich is currently on this missionary trip on the continent of Africa, however there are deadlines that he has to met financially.  I wanted to post this message because I know exactly how it feels trying to raise money for a missionary trip.  When my fellow teammate Brett Winkelman and I went on an AIA (Athletes in Action) mission trip to Taiwan before our senior year of college.  We had to meet certain deadlines financially to have the opportunity to spread the Word of God to less fortunate individuals.  At times it is very difficult and stressful but I pray that whoever is reading this can give a little (every bit counts) to Rich Bowman II and allow him the opportunity to continue to spread the Word of God.  For some reason the past 3 months I have not gotten Rich out of my head and I believe it is a calling for me to help him in anyway that I can.  So I've taken the initiative and written a blog post in the hopes that he will meet his financial goal.  Have a wonderful day and God Bless!  Mark 16:15 

PS- I made it easier for people to read my Bible verses that I put at the end of each post.  For any of you that do not have a Bible handy, all you have to do is slide your cursor over the red Bible verse and it will magically appear for you :)!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ankara Tournament, Movies, & Shout out

Warm up
 Happy Sunday everyone!  Last night we just finished up our 3 day pre-season tournament here in Ankara.  We went 1-2 in those 3 games.  First game we lost by 20 to a good Montenegro team.  Second game we ended up winning a thriller vs Karsiyaka (another Turkish team in our league).  We ended up winning this game on an offensive rebound and put back by our 2 guard with 7 seconds to go.  They had one last shot but we played great defense and came away with a win.  Our third game we lost by 15 to Fenerbahce.  They are an extremely talented team with one of the highest budgets in Turkey.  It was great to see where we stacked up against some of the other teams in Turkey.  There were some improvements that we made as a team compared to our last tournament.  At the same time there is still plenty of things we can improve on and get better at.  When you bring in 12 new players that have never played together you need some time to get used to playing together and to get accustom to how each player plays.  We are definitely coming together and I am excited to get the season under way.  Next week we are in another tournament here in Ankara.  We will be playing 2 games, on Tuesday and Thursday.  Both teams that we will be playing are from Ankara as well.  There are three teams here in this city that will be playing in the first division this year.
Warm up #2
(Not sure what coach is thinking ha)

Tip off 
Outside of bball we are really enjoying our time here in Anakara.  Last night after our game we went and ate a delicious sushi restaurant with Kirk Penney.  The sushi restaurant is located right by our new apartment that we are moving into.  It also has quite a few other restaurants that look extremely appetizing and an amazing mall with a great cinema attached to it.  Tonight we have another great date night with Kirk Penney and we are heading to a movie haha.  What is nice about the movie theaters here, is almost all the movies are in English and they are subtitled in Turkish.  It is very beneficial for us and it makes attending to and figuring out what movie we want to go to a lot easier.  So I gotta give props to the cinemas here in Turkey!

My sister #9 setting in recent match!
Photo taken by Eric Johnson AL Tribune.  
Time to get our day moving here in Ankara.  Again sorry I do not have stats for these pre-season tournaments.  During the season I will be giving you much more detailed information about our games and my teammates as well.  I want to give a shout out to my sister Bryn Woodside and here volleyball team for a come from behind victory the other night.  They were down 0-2 in sets and came back winning 3-2.  It was quite the performance for the #9 setter of AL!  I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.  Let me guess.....NFL football? Or maybe PGA Tour Championship?  I will be in tune to both this evening after the movie.  Have a great day!  God Bless.. Matthew 25:14-30
Timeout during a game.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

3 day tourney

Good Evening!  Quick little update to let you know what's going on this weekend.  We are in another tournament Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  It is here in Ankara this time so we will not have to travel anywhere.  I am happy that it is here so that my wife can come and watch the games.  Its great having support at the games even if it is pre-season.

Tonight we (I mean AJ) are making some chicken cordon bleu's, potato wedges, peas, and some fruit.    She is one heck of a cook and I am extremely thankful and blessed to have her preparing such wonderful dishes!  If I were in the kitchen it would be a completely different story.  Some good ol' frozen pizza's would do the trick :)!  In some other news, AJ and I will be moving to a different apartment in the near future.  We are going to be moving by the rest of the foreign players and a few Turkish players.  We are extremely excited about it and can't wait to move.  There are a few reasons we decided to move but basically it was for our own best interest.  When we are established in our new apartment I will be posting photos of it.  Thats all for now.  Nice quick little update for you guys.  I will let you know how the tournament goes.  Have a wonderful evening and God Bless!! Romans 1:16

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tourney, Road trip, Food poisoning

Happy Saturday everyone!  It is a beautiful afternoon here in Ankara Turkey, sunny, 82 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.  Wow I must be getting old, I am commenting on the weather now!  I must admit that there has only been 2 days here in Ankara when it has been cloudy otherwise it is straight sun the whole time.  My wife can attest to this as she was over at a friends house last week hanging out on her patio the whole afternoon, and when I came home from practice she looked like a lobster!  Sorry to bore you of the weather comments (like watching paint dry haha!).  Today however AJ and I went to the grocery store near by to pick up some dinner for tonight.  Speaking of tonight we have a hot date....MOVIE!  We are heading to our first cinema here tonight and I am really looking forward to it.

Ankara to Gaziantep, Turkey
If you read my previous post you know that I just got back from a pre-season tourney down in Gaziantep, Turkey.  It is located just north of Syria.  The image to the right shows the route and the location of Gaziantep compared to Ankara.  We were down there Monday-Friday and arrived back in Ankara last night.  The tournament consisted of a game on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Thursday we had a practice, and another game on Friday.  Our first game went well.  We ended up winning by 6 to Antalya.  Again I apologize I do not have any specific stats for our team or individual for any of the games.  Our second game we played a good team in Aliaga.  We ended up losing by 3 points.  It was an exciting game however.  We were down by double figures in the 2nd half and ended up coming back and cutting the deficit to one possession with around 30 seconds to go.  A player from Aliaga took a shot and missed.  The ball was getting tipped around and bounced out of bounds.  We all thought for sure it was going to be our ball.  Referee whistles........ball to Aliaga, and that folks was basically the ball game.  So, we are sitting in the tournament at 1-1 and one game to be played on Friday still.

HOWEVER, we ended up not playing the game on Friday and traveled home because 7 players and a couple coaches on our team got FOOD POISONING from our hotel dinner the night before.  I was one of the players that got it but not an extreme case like some of my teammates and coaches.  It was unbelievable.  Our dinner the night before consisted of some type of minced meat (apparently not fresh). That night I went to bed feeling just fine until around 3am when all of a sudden I had extreme diarrhea like you wouldn't believe (no vomiting).  That lasted all night long.  Immediately I knew that it was something that I had eaten.  That morning I woke up to our trainer knocking on the door saying that I need to go to the hospital to get my blooded check.  I thought how in the heck did he know I was on the toilet all night.  I find out that I was one of many guys up all night, as I stated before.  I say that I did not have the extreme case because some of my fellow teammates and coaches were up all night vomiting and diarrhea.  So, I go to the hospital to get my blood drawn (test came back that I had bacteria/food poisoning in my blood) and I walk into a big room filled with my teammates and coaches laying on gurneys with IV's.  I wish I would have taken a picture and posted it on here.  It was quiet the sight.  Members of a professional basketball team all side by side in one big room getting treated for food poisoning.  They ask me if I wanted IV's for my body but I politely refused (at this time it was around 11am and I felt better).  That day I basically laid around resting and getting fluids back into my system.  Thursday night one of our trainers came into our room and said that we are leaving back to Ankara tomorrow morning (Friday) after breakfast.  So no game!  We ended the tournament 1-1 with a lot of dehydrated, stomach grumbling, scared to eat, and not impressed players.  Not to mention we had a 10 hour bus ride home on Friday.

It felt good getting back to the apartment last night and eating some food that I knew was legit.  I feel 100% better today and am looking forward to getting back on the court tomorrow afternoon.  Our team is making strides in every aspect of the game.  It is great seeing us all improve day by day.  We need to continue to do that the rest of the year if we want to meet our goal.  That pretty much sums up an exciting week of basketball, road trip, and food poisoning.  As I mentioned before I am thrilled to go to a movie with my wife tonight, relax, and not worry about food haha!  I hope you all have a blessed weekend.  I look forward to posting again soon.  God Bless... Colossians 3:17! LOOK IT UP :)

At our newly found bar & grill in Ankara

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pre season games & Off Day

Hey everyone!  I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday afternoon.  I am guessing most of you will be watching some college football today.  I will be checking a few games out and watching some golf via slingbox tonight.

Since I last blogged we have had 3 pre season games here in Ankara.  We went 2-1 in those three games.  I apologize I do not have any team or individual statistical information.  However, it was great getting out there and actually playing against some body else for a change.  During those 3 games we had some positive aspects but also some details that we can improve on.  We are a brand new team and it takes time to get that chemistry on the floor.  Getting used to playing together and working hard everyday is a key in becoming a good team, and I think our team is capable of doing that.  We have great individual talent now we need to put it all together on the floor.  It will all work itself out over the next month of pre season.  I am definitely looking forward to playing with the teammates that I have this year.  We are flying to a pre-season tournament on Monday and will be gone for 5 days.  We have around 12 pre season games this year before our first regular season game.  Thats about all the bball info I have for you right now.

Aj in front Anitkabir
Today we had a day off so my lovely wife and I decided to head to Anitkabir Museum this afternoon.  It was an amazing and huge museum.  If you wanted to you could literally spend all afternoon reading information on Turkey history.  This museum was basically a tribute from the war in which Turkey got its independence.  Images throughout this post are from our museum adventure today.

Water w/ pump
The water picture to the left is the water that we drink here.  The neat thing about it is all we need to do is dial a phone number, say the word "one" and someone will bring you one 5 gallon jug of water for 7 lira (roughly $4 USD).  It only takes them approximately 10 minutes to bring you the water from the time you called.  Notice the pump that we have on the top to pump the water out (very handy).  I think it is a great idea, that way we never have to pick up water and bring it home from the store.
Guard at Museum
Also, we got an automatic car yesterday.  It feels great not having to depend on a taxi every where you go.  The driving over here is extremely different than back home.  Its basically a "free-for-all" here so you have to be cautious and careful at all times when you are driving.  I do not have a picture of the car yet but I will post one eventually.  Thats all the new information I have from Ankara, Turkey.  Have a blessed Saturday afternoon.  Keep you posted on the up coming games. God Bless!  Matthew 11:22-23
Soldiers at Museum
Anitkabir from a distance 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Training camp, Settled In

Good afternoon from Ankara, Turkey everyone!  I arrived back here from our training camp on Friday afternoon.  It was a wonderful training camp up near the mountains.  It was great getting to know about my teammates and coaching staff at the camp.  I think it was a successful camp in terms of preparing guys for this up coming season.  I know we have a lot more work ahead of us in this pre-season but I think the camp was a great first stepping stone for our team.  Our whole team was very enthusiastic and worked extremely hard during the whole camp.  For most of the camp we did 2 a days.  We had strength and conditioning in the morning and basketball practice at night.  It felt amazing being able to get back on the court with a group of guys and compete.  I am thrilled to get the season going!  As I mentioned I came back on Friday afternoon, and this weekend Aj and I have been getting the essentials for our apartment (ie. groceries, few pots and pans, new bed sheets, etc).  We are still waiting on a few things for our apartment but all in all we really enjoy it.

We are on the 2nd floor of our building with a huge balcony.  Our apartment has 2 bedrooms (master and regular), living room, kitchen, 1 bathroom, and a nice little entryway.  It is one of the smaller apartments that we have had in terms of square footage but we still enjoy it (visitors always welcome).  The apartment is about 5 minutes from the gym which I really like because Ankara is huge city and it makes it easy to get to and from practice.  We are also extremely close to one of the biggest malls in Ankara and a lot of nice restaurants are by us.  Aj and I have had some great adventures already living here.

Today,  we went to a market within walking distance.  We had an absolute blast there.  I have never been to a market this big before and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We ended up getting bananas, peaches, tomatoes, lettuce, and pears for an extremely great price.  I am totally looking forward to going back there next week again.  At times it is a little difficult with the language barrier because not a lot of people that we have come across have been able to speak English.  But, that is all part of the fun!

Its time for us to eat some dinner now.  I want to apologize if I am not grammatically correct all the time, NO ENGLISH major here so deal with it haha!  The pictures posted below are few shots from the market (mega amount of green beans huh?).  I hope you have a great Sunday morning/afternoon.  Enjoy the church bells and organ playing!  God Bless, Philippians 4:13

Green beans

Assortment of produce
Green beans up close

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Team, New Country, New Beginning

Hey everyone!  Its been a long long time and I apologize for that.  Last year I didn't blog and there is no excuse I was straight lazy to be honest, but as you can see from my post title its a new year and I plan on blogging all year long to keep everyone informed.  If you haven't heard I have signed a one year contract with TED Kolejliler Ankara in Turkey.  Ankara is the capital of Turkey (not Istanbul) for all of you city capital guru's.  There is approximately 4.75 million people living in Ankara and is the 2nd most populous city in Turkey behind Istanbul.  We are located in central north west part of the country. My amazing wife AJ came along this year as well, and let me tell you it is unbelievable having her around.  However, since we got here I have only seen her 1 night because of camp (will explain later).

Starting out our trip AJ and I had a heck of a time getting to Turkey.  First, our flight from Fargo to Chicago was delayed 1 1/2 hours and we only had a 2 hour lay over in Chicago before our international flight took off.  We end up getting to Chicago 20 minutes before our 2nd flight leaves.  We are literally racing to get to the gate only to find out our next flight from Chicago to Munich is delayed 1 hour.  Not to mention our next flight from Munich to Ankara has a 2 1/2 hour lay over.  So, we are waiting at the gate to board when a man comes on the intercom and says that our delay is now going to be 2- 2 1/2 hours!  AJ and I are sitting there thinking you have got to be kidding, we are going to miss our last flight from Munich to Ankara.  Turns out the plane had a major maintenance problem because of a lose door.  The airline decides to get us a new plane but it wouldn't be taking off until 9pm!  We leave Chicago knowing we are going to miss our next flight and my agent informs me that the next flight they are going to put us on doesn't leave Munich until 7:45pm, and we had landed in Munich at 12:30pm (next day).  After all of those delays and being unlucky we now have a 7+ hour layover in Munich.  From Munich to Ankara is about 2 1/2 hour flight.  After the long layover in Munich and our last flight to Ankara we finally arrive at 12:00am!  So, we basically traveled for 38 hours!

Arriving in Ankara was a great feeling.  They had a team assistant to meet us at the airport and drive us to the hotel that we stayed in for 1 night.  The excitement doesn't stop there.  The next morning I have a physical, after that AJ and I went apt searching, and finally I have to get on the bus and leave for TRAINING CAMP that night for 9 days!  That is why I only saw AJ for 1 night.  Let me tell you it was an exhausting 48+ hours to say the least.  We did find an apt which we are really happy about and AJ is currently there right now.  I am in training up camp in the mountains between Ankara and Istanbul about a 2 1/2 hour drive.  

We finished our first day of training camp today and it was great besides spraining my ankle.  It feels great to be able to get back in the hang of things.  A little bit about our first day, this morning we had some conditioning and a little lifting workout.  Tonight we had our court session.  Felt great getting out on the court with a team and playing.  Speaking of my teammates, they are great.  The foreign players consist of Kirk Penney (2 guard), Jovo Stanojevic (center), Vanja Plisnic (4 man), and myself.  It has been great getting to know all of the Turkish and other foreign players at our camp.  I look forward to playing with these guys all year.  After a full day of work it is time for this guy to relax, ice the ankle, and get ready for tomorrow.  Have a wonder day/night and as always God Bless! "Iyi geceler" Joshua 1:9