Dogus Ozdemiroglu is not a regular young player for Darussafaka Istanbul. He is an icon, a symbol, a player with unbelievable commitment. Darussafaka first tipped off more than a century ago as part the sports section of a school for orphans, which was founded by the Darussafaka Association in 1863, when it became the first non-governmental education organization in the history of Turkey. The school, which is still thriving today in the Maslak district on the European side of Istanbul, was set up to provide an education for boys who had lost their fathers and who had limited financial resources. Ozdemiroglu, who lost his father, was a student at the school throughout his childhood - the club still has strong links to the orphanage which created it, regularly drawing upon graduates from the school to bolster its playing roster. He helped Darussafaka win the 7DAYS EuroCup last season and was given the chance to lift the trophy along with team captain Furkan Aldemir and superstar Scottie Wilbekin.
In Darussafaka's first home game against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, Ozdemiroglu gave his team the spark it needed in the second quarter. He had 7 points, 2 rebounds and an assist in a 19-0 run that not only allowed Darussafaka to erase a double-digit deficit, but to take the lead for the best part of the game. Ozdemiroglu finished the game with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a performance index rating of 10 in less than 16 minutes. Darussafaka has been his whole life and he is giving back to the club on the court, with a commitment rarely seen anywhere else.
"Defense was good and our Turkish players like Dogus [Ozdemiroglu[, Kartal [Ozmizrak] and Muhammed [Baygul] came ready off the bench. They changed the game for us and we won," Darussafaka head coach Ahmet Caki said after the game.