SFC Brooklyn’s Deniz Celen signs with pro sports agency Octagon Basketball Europe
After finishing second in the Northeast Conference in field-goal percentage this past season, St. Francis Brooklyn forward Deniz Celen is ready to test his formidable skills, as a professional men’s basketball player.
“I’m glad to start my professional career being represented by Marko Jelic and being a part of the Octagon Europe Agency family,” said Celen, who officially inked a deal to be represented by the sports and entertainment giant last week.
Celen joins an eye-popping list of current Octagon clients, including more than 70 international players and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks superstar Trae Young are also represented by Octagon.
“It means a great deal for me to know that I have an agent and organization that I trust, and I believe working with them will benefit my professional career and my future,” Celen, a native of Ankara, Turkey, added.
So what was it that made Celen attractive to an agency with such an impressive list of clients?
Just check the 6-foot-8 graduating senior’s state line.
Celen, who earned All-NEC Third Team honors for the first time this past year, averaged 11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 blocks per game, making him a solid contributor on both ends of the court.
He made 55.5 percent of his shots from the field, including an ultra-efficient 43.6 percent from three-point range.
Celen also knocked down 82.4 percent of his free throws during the Terriers’ 31-game season, which ended with a first-round loss to top-seeded Robert Morris in the NEC Tournament back in March.
Named the NEC Player of the Week after pouring in a career-high 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds in the Terriers’ 81-62 rout of Delaware State on Dec. 22, Celen placed his name among the league leaders in virtually every key statistical category.
He ranked seventh in blocks per game, 12th in rebounding and tied for 18th in scoring while reaching double figures in points 17 times.
Celen will leave SFC with a formidable hole to fill in its roster as he was among Head Coach Glenn Braica’s most valuable players over the past two seasons after transferring to the Brooklyn Heights school following a season at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
“We’re very happy for Deniz as he takes the necessary steps en route to beginning his professional playing career,” said Braica.
“Deniz has worked extremely hard to get to this level, and he was an integral part of our team over the past two seasons. He is a talented player and a great person, and we wish him nothing but the best as he realizes his dream of playing professional basketball.”
Over at Brooklyn College, David Melman, a four-year member of the Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team, was named a Scholar-Athlete of the Year Honorable Mention recipient.
“I am very honored to have been considered for this award,” said Melman, who hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“As an international student, being a student-athlete on a team sport always helped me stay centered and kept me pushing to achieve my goals.”
Melman, a key contributor to the BC team that captured its first CUNYAC title and Division III NCAA Tournament appearance since 2016 this past season, carried a near perfect 3.9 grade-point average while majoring in Economics and Finance.
While making a career-high 20 starts during the 2019-20 campaign, Melman averaged 3.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and led the Bulldogs in blocked shots with 18.
He also played an active role in BC’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, volunteering for a number of youth sports clinics, hospital visits and food service events during his four years in our borough.
“The nature of individual awards often disregards how important it is to have a strong support group,” Melman noted. “Because of that, I would like to take this chance to thank the Brooklyn College community and especially my teammates and coaches for supporting me and always propelling me forward.
“What I have learned as a student-athlete, both in the classroom and on the court, will allow me to succeed further in life and I also want to thank CUNY for facilitating that journey.”
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