Student Athlete: Efkan Eren

Our 2013 International Student Athlete of the year came to America without speaking a word of English. As one of Turkey’s top young athletes, he turned down countless offers to play professionally to pursue an education in the United States. We honor Efkan Eren for the bold decisions he has made throughout his Upper Level Education and recognize him for his accomplishments. There are many international students who achieve great success in and out of the classroom and possess character that inspires and impacts others. Our Most Valuable Student Athlete Recognition is given to a student who epitomizes well rounded diversity and demonstrates intelligence, strength and an extreme level of character. Like our 2011 and 2012 winners Dogus Balbay and Ugur Atalay, our class of 2013 International Student of the year excelled as a recognized NCAA Student Athlete. honors Efkan Eren of Lindenwood University with this recognition. In the classroom, Efkan demonstrated prowess and was on the Deans List every semester of study. He double majored in Graphic Arts and International Relations and will graduate with cum laude. On the Basketball court, Efkan was fierce and showed the heart of a champion. His impact to the Lindenwood Lions was immediate as was selected to its starting lineup during his first year and was recognized as the squad’s top defensive player. After his first year, he was named to the first team of the heart of America conference and was recognized by Lindenwood as its Most Outstanding Incoming Male Athlete given to the student athlete who most excels in athletics, academics and community service.

After spending his early years in Artvin, Turkey, Efkan moved to Istanbul. At the age of 11, he was spotted by one of Turkey’s recognized coaches, Polat Kaya who helped to develop Efkan into a young phenom at the age of 13 for Fenerbahce Sports Club. He represented Turkey along with our 2011 winner, Dogus Balbay on its U16 National team coached by Turkish Coach Fikret Dogan. During his last year in Turkey, he teamed with current NBA players Enes Kanter( Utah Jazz) and Omer Asik ( Houston Rockets) to lead Turkey to a U18 championship. many predicted he would become one of Turkey’s youngest top A Level Professionals. Despite such expectations, Efkan never got ahead of himself and came to the United States with a precise goal and purpose. He adjusted to his new setting and remained on course to not only grow as a person but also lead to inject great value to his surrounding community. He moved to the US at the age of 18 and enrolled at the Maine Central Institute( MCI) where he played for prep school legendary coach, Dave “Soupy” Campbell. Efkan scored 48 points in his final game there which is still today the single game school record. After leading the MCI squad in points and rebounds, he moved ahead to NCAA competition.

Throughout his college career, Efkan demonstrated will and clutch. He also portrayed leadership with impact. Efkan led the Lions to consecutive Conference Championships, a Transitional National Championship and an overall record of 56-8 during his last 2 years. Though he was left handed, he demonstrated ambidextrous skills with effective use of both hands. Efkan was one of the Nation’s most versatile stars having played the 3, 4 and 5 positions during his career. He was a member of the All Conference Defense team and a 3 time Academic All American.

Lindenwood’s Head Men’s Basketball Head Coach Brad Soderberg categorizes Efkan as being a most instrumental member of his team both on and off the court.
“I have coached college basketball in the United States for 28 years. I have enjoyed coaching Efkan Eren as much as any other player during my career! He is one of the hardest working, physically fit players I have been around. More importantly, Efkan is a fine young man with a tremendously bright future ahead of him. Efkan has been a wonderful ambassador for the Country of Turkey during his time in the States. I sincerely hope I can coach many more players like Efkan during the rest of my career.”

Lindenwood University President James Evans recognized him as a Recipient of their “Sportsmanship Award” given to acknowledge the highest standard of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship.Dr. Evans praise:

“I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of StudyInAmerica’s 2013 International Student award. Efkan is an all-around champion, who represents both his country and his university extremely well. A good student, he also excelled on the basketball court as an intercollegiate athlete. He not only played his sport excellently as an individual but also enlivened his teammates whenever he came into a game. Most importantly, Efkan has very strong character. He is the quintessential gentleman wherever he goes, and all who know him cannot help but be impressed with his classiness and unlimited potential. I would hasten to add that he served as a great example of mature comportment for many of our other young male students.” Not bad for a young man who just years earlier arrived to the US without any English. is very pleased to honor Mr. Efkan Eren of Turkey. This Lindenwood University Lion is our Most Valuable International Student Athlete of 2013.