Turkish basketball reaches new heights

Turkish basketball reaches new heightsThe year 2014 brought good luck and good fortune to Turkish basketball and among the highlights of the year are the fact that the menandrsquos and womenandrsquos national teams are sending promising signals for the future, Galatasaray and Fenerbahe womenandrsquos teams taking the top two spots in Europe and menandrsquos teams playing for top rankings in Europe.In an unforgettable season, the womenandrsquos Turkish Basketball League (TKBL) proved its credentials as one of the top leagues in Europe.

Galatasaray and Fenerbahe gave impressive performances in the Euroleague Final Eight that was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in mid-April.Both Istanbul clubs were in the same group with Kayseri Kaski Spor Fenerbahe made it to the semifinals with a perfect record of wins and Galatasaray had but a single defeat, which was against Fenerbahe.

Ekrem Memnunandrsquos Galatasaray ended Fenerandrsquos winning streak in the match that mattered most and clinched the coveted cup. It was the first time in womenandrsquos basketball that the two Turkish clubs met in the final of a topflight international competition.

During the late summer and fall, the national teams were on world championship stages. The menandrsquos national team, aka the 12 Giant Men, earned its way to the quarterfinals thanks to its comeback victories in several key games during the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which took place in Spain between Aug.

30-Sept. 14.

Ergin Atamanandrsquos men beat New Zealand and Finland in the preliminary stage and then Australia in the round of 16 in the final minutes however, they could not get past the Lithuanians in the quarterfinals.A month later, between Sept.

27 and Oct. 5, Turkey was the venue for the womenandrsquos edition of the tournament and the hosts took part in the FIBA World Championship for Women for the first time.

Under the helm of coach Ceyhun YIldIzoIlu, the Turkish national team went through to the round of 16 as the leader of its group in the preliminary stage. The Fairies of the Hoop, as the team is dubbed, edged Serbia 62-61 to make it to the semifinals.

Yet there was no further progression: The Fairies first lost to Spain, destroying its chances for the finals and then to Australia, to finish fourth in the tournament. Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) President Turgay Demirel called the achievement andldquoextraordinaryandrdquo in remarks that appeared recently in national media outlets.

Menandrsquos Turkish Basketball League (TBL) sides kicked off their hunt for cups with the quarterfinals of the Turkish Cup in February. PInar KarIIyaka stunned Galatasaray and reached the semifinals to meet Anadolu Efes, which outlasted Fenerbahe.

The Izmir club edged nine-time winner Anadolu Efes 66-65 on Feb. 9 to clinch its maiden cup.

However the 2013-2014 TBL season will be remembered for its chaotic final championship series between archrivals Galatasaray Liv Hospital and Fenerbahe ulker Believing that the playoffs are not managed properly by the national basketball authority, coach Atamanandrsquos Galatasaray elected not to attend the title-decider to be played at Fenerbaheandrsquos ulker Sports Arena in May. With Galatasaray declared the loser by default, Fenerbahe won the coveted title of the 48th edition of the league.

In the womenandrsquos league, the two clubs met in the championship playoffs but this time Galatasaray found the happy ending, winning the series 3-2 in May. It was the 12th title for Galatasaray following a 13-year drought.

The club also started the year 2014 with a Super Cup, outlasting its archrivals 76-70, in January. The year was wrapped up by Fenerbahe winning the Turkish Cup on Sunday after defeating Adana Aski 81-67 in the finals.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman