OFFSEASON

Erden back with ill mother in Turkey

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Erden back with ill mother in Turkey

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WASHINGTON Boston Celtics center Semih Erden, who has been hampered by a sore groin injury, has returned to Turkey to be with his mother who is ill.

Justin Zanik, an agent for ASM Sports which represents Erden, told CSNNE.com on Monday night that the 7-foot rookie plans to rejoin the team prior to the C's playing at Golden State on Feb. 22.

"He is in Turkey now, and we are monitoring the situation," Zanik wrote in an email to CSNNE.com. "If all goes well, Semih will rejoin the team over All-Star weekend."

Erden has been among the biggest surprises for the Celtics this season.

Because of an unexpected rash of injuries at the center position, the Celtics have been forced to play him more than anyone anticipated.

"I feel very comfortable," Erden told CSNNE.com earlier this season. "It's nice for me, to play some my first year. That's a big chance, so I want to use it."

To his credit, Erden has risen to the challenge when called upon.

In 36 games this season, the 24-year-old has averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He has also started seven games, averaging 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Maybe more significant than his numbers, has been the respect he has garnered from a team loaded with Hall of Fame players such as Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal who have gone out of their way at times to praise Erden for his play.

"I speak a language that he understands," O'Neal said. "He's a young guy. I've seen his tape. I was a fan of his; I saw what he can do. It's just a great opportunity for a guy from Turkey to be another great Turkish player, come over here and do well in the NBA."

And as well as Erden has played at times this season, O'Neal is among those convinced he'll be even better with experience.

"I know one thing," O'Neal said. "When he goes back to Turkey next year for the summer games, he's going to be deadly. He's going to be a machine."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

OFFSEASON

Yabusele expects to be on Celtics summer league roster

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Yabusele expects to be on Celtics summer league roster

ROXBURY, Mass. – The Boston Celtics shocked many on draft night last week when they selected French forward Guerschon Yabusele with the 16th overall pick.

Well here’s another unexpected twist involving Yabusele: He said he plans to be on the Celtics’ summer league team which begins play next week in Salt Lake City.

“My agent is working in France to do something for me, to be able to play in summer league,” Yabusele said.

Like most NBA rookies, Yabusele is eager to get on the floor and get his first taste of NBA basketball this summer.

“That’s a dream come true,” Yabusele said. “When I was young thinking about the NBA all the time. I knew it would happen at some point.”

But the 20-year-old forward isn’t focused on testing the NBA waters and returning to overseas play soon.

“Not just stay three years or four, but stay all my life in the NBA,” he said.

Yabusele made the announcement following the Boston Celtics’ rookies (minus Ante Zizic) all participating in a basketball clinic at the Madison Park Community Center as the Boston Celtics celebrated their 50th Renovation project since 2008.

The news isn’t quite as optimistic for fellow international Celtic Ante Zizic who is not likely to have his contract situation overseas worked out in enough time to join Boston for summer league play in Salt Lake City and afterwards in Las Vegas.

Still, Yabusele getting a shot to play now is huge both for his own personal growth and that of the Celtics to get a better feel for how their first-round pick stacks up against fellow rookies and young teammates like Jordan Mickey.

This past season, Yabusele averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. He appeared in 34 games and grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.