While a nine-game suspension wasn’t exactly what N.C. State freshman Omer Yurtseven had in mind, he was happy with the NCAA’s decision on Monday for one reason.
“It has been a long process,” Yurtseven said Tuesday. “So I’m happy that we finally have an idea of what we’re going to do, so we can move on.”
The 7-foot forward from Turkey played for a pro club team the past three years and the NCAA ruled he has to make a $1,000 payment to charity and sit out nine games to be eligible for the Wolfpack this season.
Yurtseven, who is considered one of the best international players in college basketball, was obviously hoping not to miss a month of the season but he said he respects the NCAA’s decision.
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Yurtseven can play in the Wolfpack’s two preseason games and practice with the team before his first game, Dec. 15 against Appalachian State.
While N.C. State fans have been worrying about Yurtseven’s availability since he committed in May, he said he hasn’t taken the same mental approach.
“I haven’t been worrying,” Yurtseven said. “When it comes to my mind, I try just to say, ‘Can I do something about (it)?’ No, so why worry?”
The preseason games and the practices will help Yurtseven, a skilled big man, make the adjustment to the college game but N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried was disappointed with the NCAA’s ruling.
I haven’t been worrying. When it comes to my mind, I try just to say, ‘Can I do something about (it)?’ No, so why worry?
“It’s a difficult for a young player when you miss that many games,” Gottfried said. “I think the rest of the team, they’ll be much farther down the road by then.”
Yurtseven will get to play in four nonconference games in December before the Wolfpack’s ACC opener at Miami on Dec. 31.
Gottfried would have liked to have had Yurtseven in the lineup for more time before the start of ACC play.
“In a perfect world, we would have loved to have him play a lot more games to get ready for the ACC but we’re going to figure out how to handle it the best way we can,” Gottfried said.
The whole process has taught Yurtseven a lesson in patience, he said. So while anxious to get on the floor in a real game, he can handle waiting just a little bit longer.
“I’ll try to hold on and keep helping the team in practice,” Yurtseven said.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio