A Turk in the Heart of Texas
January 20, 2011 by TMO
Dogus Balbay was not a name commonly heard in Texas. But for the past couple of years, it has become a household name around Austin. The 22 year old native of Istanbul has become a vital part of the University of Texas menâ€™s basketball team. And this season he has had to battle back from a right knee anterior cruciate ligament tear incurred in February. He is not a big man, at an even 6 feet tall. But he is described as one of the top perimeter defenders in all of college basketball, Balbay is a veritable pit bull out on the court.
He originally started playing basketball with the Turkish club FenerbahĂ§e. He spent two years playing on the Under 18 Turkish National Team, and led them to a fourth place finish at the 2006 European Championships. He also played two years on the Under 16 Turkish National Team prior to that and led that team to the 2005 European Championship.
After two years in the Turkish Basketball League, he moved to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He led Brewster to a 29-6 record and a runner-up finish at the NEPSAC Class A Championship while averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 assists per game during his senior season before signing letter of intent to become a Texas Longhorn.
Balbay was developing nicely as a point guard, until February of 2010 during his senior season when he tore the ACL of his right knee. After several months of rehabilitation he was ready for his senior season in November of 2010. His development continued, as he picked up right where he left off. He came to Austin with athleticism and a strong work ethic. He has since added an outside shot and improved ball-handling. And he just may be the glue that holds the entire team together.