Feb. 17, 2009, 6:51 p.m. (ET)
After a brief trip back to the U.S., I am back in Istanbul and ready to go! The previous four months were demanding both physically with basketball and emotionally being so far away from home. I'm enjoying my time here in Turkey and this is one of the best experiences of my life; however I was feeling a bit drained, and disconnected, running on fumes so to speak. My trip home has me gassed up and ready to go!

My family is doing great and has never been more proud, and my friends are still so supportive and my connection to each of them has grown with the distance. My family and friends are so important to me and they have been such an incredible source of encouragement not only for this experience but throughout my entire athletic career. It's extremely motivating having them in my corner, and I am forever grateful to have them.

I returned a week before team practice resumes, and it has been an excellent time to get in the gym and work on my game individually an****ey in on the things that I need to work on. I am not one that believes practice makes perfect, but it does make progress. I still have goals this season that have yet to be reached so the hard work will continue. European championships are approaching very quickly, and I will make sure I am more than prepared. It is a highly anticipated event and each team will be working very hard. It's my job to make sure that I am working harder than them, and have a stronger hunger for success.

I'm glad to be back! My focus is strong and I am eager to get back to competition. The Turkish league games will resume in the next week or so, and maintaining our dominance in that league is a priority. As the returning champs of the Turkish league and also the European league there is a huge responsibility on each of us to provide the success that the team is accustomed to. I willingly accept that task and love to win! Doing what I can for the team to stay on top is very important to me. I play for a team that demands results and it encourages me to be the best ball player I can be.

Things have progressed so quickly since I've arrived and before I know it this season will be over. I will always cherish this experience! It has been life changing in the most positive ways. I made the right decision by choosing this organization, and have remained happy the entire time. Being so far away from familiarity and comfort can be a difficult transition and the team has done everything they can to make the transition easy for me. I am excited for the rest of the season to play out, and as it does I will keep you posted.

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