Banvit Basketbol Kulubu enters its third consecutive Eurocup season poised to continue its march to the highest levels of continental basketball. Banvit comes off its best season yet as it won its Eurocup regular season group and then finished a tiebreaker short of a playoff berth. In the Turkish League things went even better as the team reached the Turkish Cup final, then tied for the best record in the regular season and took powerhouse Anadolu Efes the distance in the playoff semifinals. Now the pride of Turkey’s Marmara Region looks to add some hardware as it climbs the ladder to greatness. In less than two decades, Banvit BK has gone from being a local team in a factory to a back-to-back Eurocup participant. The club’s run started back in 1994, when it was founded by workers at Banvit, a meat company in Bandirma, Turkey. It competed in local leagues until 1998, when Banvit moved up to the regional level. The club made it to the Turkish second division in 2001 and managed to reach the playoffs in the 2001-02 season. Two years later, Banvit became the 2004 second division champion and earned the right to play against the very best in Turkey. With George Banks and Rashid Atkins as its top players, Banvit shined in its debut in European competitions by reaching the 2005 FIBA Europe Cup semifinals. In 2005-06, Banvit continued to progress as a team and reached the playoff semifinals for the first time. The next season Banvit came within one win of the FIBA Eurocup Last 16. Banvit went back to the FIBA Eurocup in 2007-08 and even though it sealed a Turkish League playoffs spot for the third consecutive season, Besiktas stood in its way to the semifinals. Banvit went through a less than stellar 2008-09 season only to bounce back with former playmaking great Orhun Ene as head coach and a core of players featuring Baris Ermis, Keith Simmons and Baris Ozcan. Banvit ranked third at the end of the regular season and knocked off Pinar Karsiyaka in the quarterfinals, but eventual champion Fenerbahce Ulker stopped the club in the semifinals. Two years ago, Banvit sampled the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds and played in the Eurocup before turning its attention to domestic competition and reaching the playoff semifinals again. After improving on that last season, it’s clear that the future is bright for Banvit.