Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series looking back at past Texas athletes and where they are now. This week features former men’s basketball point guard Doğuş Balbay, who played for Texas from 2008-2011.
Doğuş Balbay has always had the same scouting report: He can move the ball well and play strong defense, but he just can’t shoot.
In his three years at Texas from 2008-2011, Balbay never averaged more than 4.2 points per game, despite playing around 20 minutes in nearly each match. Actually, the 6-foot-1 point guard attempted only two long balls in his senior year.
But he always did the little things right for the Longhorns.
“I want to play hard, play defense and help my teammates both offensively and defensively,” Balbay said his sophomore year. “I have to be a leader when I’m on the court, I have to listen to my coach, and I know I need to talk on the court. That’s all I need to do.”
And the experts agreed, as ESPN analyst Jay Bilas named Balbay one of the top-two perimeter defenders in college basketball his junior year.
“Balbay puts the best pressure on the ball of anyone I have seen all season long,” Bilas said. “With his ball pressure, teams have a difficult time running offense against Texas, and Balbay has taken more than one quality point guard out of the game this season.”
Despite a successful career in burnt orange, he didn’t reach his goal.
“My goal was to get drafted,” Balbay said. “But that didn’t work out.”
So, where is he now? Currently, he is in the Turkish league for Anadolu Efes, his hometown team in Istanbul.
“It’s one of the best leagues in Europe — top-3,” Balbay said. “And Efes is one of the best clubs.”
After going undrafted, Efes bought Balbay’s rights and gave him a three-year contract.
In those three years, Balbay made a name for himself. He was named the best defender by the Turkish Basketball Federation and was the runner-up in the 2012 slam dunk contest. He even hit a game-winner with 0.4 seconds left in a Euroleague playoff game.
“There are games I actually score double figures,” Balbay said in reference to his low-scoring college days. “But I’m not the best scorer. I am one of the best defenders, though.”
With his success, he began to get some looks from the NBA summer league. The Philadelphia 76ers were in contact with Balbay and a few other teams were rumored to be trying to see him.
But, Balbay had just signed a two-year guaranteed contract with Efes, preventing him from trying out.
“[The contract] was a big deal,” Balbay said. “It’s my hometown team. In addition, they named me captain of the team this year, and that is a big deal.”
Balbay is three Turkish league games into his first season under the new contract and preparing for the first Euroleague game on Thursday.
But, he’s still just 25-years-old and his ultimate goal is not out of reach yet.
“I’ll try in two years,” Balbay said. “I guess I’m still young.”