Jimmies' Oguz bringing Turkish roots to men's volleyball team
Feb. 25—JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown does not only recruit in North America, but head coach Travers Cox and his staff can also find players all over the world and that includes freshman opposite hitter Oguzhan Oguz, who hails from Turkey.
Oguz is from Bursa, Turkey, a city in the northwest of the country, approximately 96 miles south of Istanbul. Oguz is not the only member of the team from Turkey as assistant coach Yigit Erkek is from Kocaeli, Turkey, 82 miles north of Bursa. Oguz said Erkek being with the program has helped his transition be significantly more smooth.
According to Bursa.com, the city has a population of over 3 million people whereas Jamestown has a population of 15,750 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite the fact that Jamestown is significantly smaller than his hometown, Oguz said he likes the area.
"It has its good and bad sides of course, but I am happy with its good sides," Oguz said. "No traffic, no noise, no crowds, low crime rate. That's why I'm happy with this situation right now."
Oguz is the third player to play for the Jimmies who is not from North America. Former Jimmie Korben Phillips is from Australia, and current teammate Sebastian Ignaczak is from Poland.
Jimmies head coach Travers Cox credits Erkek for finding Oguz and bringing him to the program.
"Yigit Erkek our assistant GA (graduate assistant) has a connection in Turkey with a lot of the clubs and programs there and being familiar with it himself, he knew a couple players," Cox said. "He actually tried to bring three players here, Oguz was the one we were most successful in getting, he tried to bring a setter and an outside as well, we just got lucky and got Oguz. We got one of the three so that's not bad."
This season, Oguz leads the team with 91 kills, 38 errors and is tied for the team lead in service aces with 10. Oguz has a hitting percentage of 3.79, which leads the team.
"I would say we're looking at him as one of our main terminators," Cox said. "But right now, Correa's doing a great job of really spreading the floor and when he spreads the floor, it just opens it up. Oguz draws blocks which is nice and so when Oguz is now drawing a block or middle is drawing a block it opens up our outside, when middle is drawing a block it opens up Oguz. It's kind of a combination of everything."
Oguz said his best skill on the floor is his court vision and his ability to get kills.
"The subject I am most talented at is my attacking and reading the game," Oguz said.
This season, Oguz has played in eight of the team's nine matches, getting double-digit kills in all but two of them. He recorded career high 20 kills in a five-set win over Dordt on Feb. 3.
Oguz said he wants to continue to work on his defensive positioning. Cox said Oguz's best skill on the floor is his ability to hit the ball with a lot of speed.
This season Oguz has helped the team get off to its best start in program history at 9-0. He said the only thing that is going through his mind when he is on the floor is how he can help his team win at all costs.
"I'm not someone who accepts losing so I don't think about anything other than winning during the match," he said.
Despite his success on the floor, Oguz said he misses his family as he is so far from home.
"I have been living separately from my family for five years but the feelings of being in the same country and being in a different country are different," he said.