By playing in the Eurocup for the first time in club history, Avtodor Saratov is setting a new standard. Saratov, led by Kyrylo Fesenko and Courtney Fortson, reached the VTB League playoffs last season, getting big wins against CSKA Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Unics Kazan. It also reached the EuroChallenge playoffs, losing against Trabzonspor. It may be a new Eurocup squad, but Saratov is a traditional club in Russian basketball. Founded in 1960, the club took off when Vladimir Rodionov became its head coach in the early 1980s. Saratov joined the Russian League when it was created in the early 1990s and was the first team to defeat CSKA Moscow in that competition, finishing second four times between 1994 and 1999. Saratov is well-known for bringing out young Russian talents, as players like Zakhar and Evgeny Pashutin, Victor Khryapa, Sergey Monia, Vladimir Veremeenko and, most recently, Semen Antonov and Artem Zabelin. The club also took part in European competitions, reaching the Saporta Cup eighthfinals in 1997 and competing in the 1998-99 Euroleague as its main highlights. The club went through hard times in the mid-2000s, falling to the Russian second division in 2004 and withdrawing from the third division in 2005. Saratov had to go a long way to return to the Russian elite, but won the third division in 2009 and the SuperLeague in 2014, earning an invitation to the VTB League last season. A seventh-place VTB League finish says it all about the club's power, as Saratov is on the rise and wants to prove it by being as competitive as possible in the 2015-16 Eurocup.