Anadolu Efes Istanbul reached the Euroleague Top 16 for the 10th time in 11 seasons last year and now refocuses its efforts on breaking through and battling for a Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four berth. Despite proving itself to be an elite force in both the Euroleague and Turkish League, Efes comes off a third consecutive title-free season and is eager to change that this year. Founded in 1976, Efes needed just three seasons before winning the Turkish League championship in 1979 and it lifted two more trophies in 1983 and 1984. Efes made its Euroleague debut in the 1979-80 season and reached the quarterfinals group stage. A streak of domestic dominance in the 1990s saw it take the Turkish crown in five of six seasons through 1997, led by head coach Aydin Ors. Efes also managed to put Turkey on the continental basketball map for good. In 1993, Larry Richard, Petar Naumoski and Ufuk Sarica took Efes to the Saporta Cup final, but Aris escaped with a 50-48 win. Naumoski missed a close shot in the final seconds which would have forced overtime. In 1996, Naumoski and Sarica joined forces with the late Conrad McRae and a young Mirsad Turkcan to lead Efes to the Korac Cup crown by downing Milano in the finals on point difference. It was the first European title for a Turkish team. Efes became a Euroleague regular and in 2000 the club achieved another first among Turkish teams by making the Final Four, a milestone it repeated in the 2001 SuproLeague. Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur, Predrag Drobnjak, Ibrahim Kutluay and Damir Mulaomerovic all helped make it happen. Efes was one shot away from also reaching the 2004 Final Four. A three-pointer by Skipper Bologna legend Gianluca Basile denied Efes the chance to make it to Tel Aviv 2004. The club reached the Euroleague quarterfinals in 2005 and 2006, but lost against Panathinaikos and CSKA, respectively. Efes has not returned to the playoffs since, but managed to lift Turkish Cup trophies in 2006 and 2007. The club did even better in 2008-09 by winning the Turkish League and Cup double. Fenerbahce Ulker and Besiktas have stopped Efes from adding more hardware to its roll of honors in each of the last three years. In 2010-11, Efes won its first six Euroleague home games at Sinan Erdem Arena, but a four-game losing streak erased all chances to reach the Top 16. Efes inked Dusko Savanovic, Tarence Kinsey and Sasha Vujacic, among others, to try to reach the 2012 Final Four played in its home court, but back-to-back losses against eventual champion Olympiacos denied the club the chance to reach the playoffs. Efes has stayed consistent over the years and as always, the goals remain high both at home and in the Euroleague. For starters, the club brought back to the bench Oktay Mahmuti at the beginning of the summer. With nothing short of a Turkish championship and a ticket to the 2013 Final Four in London considered acceptable, look for big things in Istanbul this season.
Korac Cup: 1996
Turkish National League: 1978-79, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2008-09
Turkish National Cup: 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009
Turkish President Cup: 1986, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2006, 2009