News about the nation of Turkey and its involvements in the Syrian civil war, the Middle Eastern refugee crisis, a war with the Kurds and tensions with the bordering countries Iran and Iraq, is oftentimes perceived or portrayed as a dangerous, war-ridden country.
Two former St. Bonaventure men’s basketball standouts, Marques Green and Charlon Kloof, say otherwise.
Green, who has his name written throughout the Bona basketball record book, ranking eighth all-time in scoring with 1,734 points, and first all-time in assists, steals and 3-point baskets made, spent one season in Turkey, where he played for TED Ankara Kolejliler in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara and scored over 500 points.
Kloof, who helped the Bonnies win an Atlantic 10 tournament championship and reach the NCAA Tournament in 2012, has played basketball overseas for three years since graduating in 2014. In July 2019, Kloof signed with OGM Oramanspor, also in Ankara.
Although Green only spent a year in Turkey and Kloof has only been in the country for a few months, neither player expressed concern.
“Nothing, nothing at all,” Green said. “That’s one of the big misconceptions. That it’s dangerous in Turkey. The year after I left, there were some bombings. I am thankful I didn’t have to deal with any of that. For the most part, it's safe."
Green continued, “I grew up in West Philadelphia. That’s dangerous. When Europeans and people overseas travel to America, their government and media warm them about getting robbed or killed. You don’t see any school shootings overseas.”
According to Kloof, it's playing in countries like Africa and South America that are dangerous. As for Turkey, Kloof said the danger talk comes from the media.
“We don’t have those types of issues,” said Kloof. “When you play in the top leagues overseas, you don’t run into problems.”
Although living in a country like Turkey has not presented safety risks for Green and Kloof, both said playing games on the road can be unsettling, especially against rival teams.
“The whole crowd is almost like a student section,” Kloof said. “In college, it’s only one small section saying things or holding signs. Sometimes, the fans will throw coins and objects at us. This is something I’ve gotten used to, and it only happens in certain countries.”
Green laughed and said, “The only thing we were ever warned about was when we played rival teams. Coaches would tell us not to say anything to the fans and things like that.”
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