Newly Signed 7-Foot Center Calls Miami’s Summer Program ‘Brutal’

Omer Yurtseven

Getty Omer Yurtseven #44 of the Georgetown Hoyas looks on in the second half during the first round of the Big East Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2020.

The Miami Heat have a lot of big decisions to make this summer considering only five players are contracted to return next season, and it’s unclear whether the newly-signed Omer Yurtseven will remain on the roster.

Yurtseven’s $1.5 million contract with the Heat is not guaranteed next season, but a league source told Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson that “he’s expected to stick around — at least into training camp — unless his salary is needed to faciliate a trade.”

While the Heat’s summer training program is famous for being incredibly intense, that’s exactly why Yurtseven, 23, wanted join Miami’s roster.

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“I’ve heard the summers are really brutal here, and that’s what gets me the most excited,” Yurtseven said. “That’s what this team does; they develop guys and there are many examples. I’m ready for all the work and all the grind.”

In addition to expanding his range, the Georgetown alum wants his growth “to be all around — rebounding, defending and everything else that comes with it.”

Yurtseven played two seasons at North Carolina State before transferring to Georgetown for the 2019-2020 season, where he averaged 15.5 points while shooting 53.4% from the field.

The Turkish star has long shown obvious signs of talent. At age 17, Sports Illustrated reported that he scored 91 points and 28 rebounds in a single game for his under-17 club in Turkey.

Yurtseven’s Agent Hopes He Stays in Miami Longterm

Yurtseven is ready to put in the work this summer, and his NBA agent Keith Glass hopes he can remain with Miami next season. “There are not a lot of skilled 7-footers,” Glass said. “Hopefully it becomes a long term thing.”

“Because I know what they do developing guys,” Glass said last month, just before the Heat’s playoff run started. “That’s why they’re still playing and others are not. There could not have been a better spot for him. They do a great job developing players.”

While eight other teams showed interest in Yurtseven, the Heat’s ability to elevate undrafted players into successful ballers, as they have with Udonis Haslem Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn, played a major part in Yurtseven deciding to sign with Miami.

“The Heat is always in a [mind-set] where they’re not afraid and they trust their eyes,” Glass added.

The 7-foot-center is currently playing for the Turkish National Team, which is trying to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But if they fail to nab one of the four spots available, Jackson says “he likely would play on the Heat’s summer league team in Las Vegas in August.”

Yurtseven Played in OKC’s G League Before Joining the Heat

Before signing with Miami this season, Yurtseven appeared in 14 games (one start) for the Oklahoma City Blue of the G League. He averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game while shooting 62.6% from the field.

He scored in double-figures 11 times, including a season-high 34 points on March 1. He also shot an impressive 38.1% from the three-point range.

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