Club profile: Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul

Jul 01, 2014 by Print
Fenerbahce Ulker celebrates - EB13
Fenerbahce Ulker IstanbulFenerbahce Ulker Istanbul comes off an up-and-down season that saw it bring in legendary head coach Zeljko Obradovic to lead the team. Fenerbahce enjoyed a very strong start in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, winning its regular season group ahead of powerhouses FC Barcelona and CSKA Moscow. The club, however, stumbled to a 1-4 start in the Top 16 and also lost three of its last four games to finish the phase with a 6-8 record and out of the playoffs. Obradovic had led all of its five previous clubs to the Final Four in his debut season, but not this time. Fenerbahce finished the season in style, winning the Turkish League title for the first time since 2011. The goal remains the same, as Fenerbahce wants to be the first Turkish team to play the Final Four since Efes Pilsen reached that phase in the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague. Founded in 1907, Fenerbahce opened its doors to basketball as the sport established itself in Turkey and claimed national titles in 1957, 1959 and 1965 before the Turkish League was formally founded in 1966. Fener also advanced to the Euroleague in 1958, 1960 and 1966. A quarter-century passed before more highlights, which began when Fenerbahce beat Tofas for the 1991 Turkish League title. Fenerbahce returned to the Turkish League finals in 1992, 1993 and 1995 and finished third in 1998 to qualify for the Euroleague. With a strong team featuring Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Marko Milic, Ibrahim Kutluay and the late Conrad McRae, Fenerbahce advanced to the eighthfinals playoffs before losing to Real Madrid. The club reached the Korac Cup quarterfinals in 1996 and 2001 and ranked fourth in the 2005 FIBA Europe League, but it wasn't until the summer of 2006 that the team became a European powerhouse. That’s when Fenerbahce merged with Ulker, one of the winningest clubs in Turkish basketball history. Ulker was founded in 1975, but its basketball section was created in 1993. It won four Turkish League titles between 1995 and 2006 with Harun Erdenay, Kutluay, Michael Anderson, Orhun Ene, Mirsad Turkcan and Serkan Erdogan among its many stars. Ulker made the Top 16 for five consecutive seasons between 2002 and 2006 and beat all the best European teams in the process. It had its best finish when it reached the 2005 Euroleague playoffs before losing to CSKA Moscow. In the first two years of the new Fenerbahce Ulker, the team won back-to-back Turkish League titles and qualified to the Euroleague playoffs in 2008. Emir Preldzic, Turkcan, Omer Onan and Roko Ukic helped Fenerbahce win consecutive Turkish doubles - league and cup titles - in 2010 and 2011 and added another cup title in 2013. Fenerbahce has made it to the Top 16 in each of the last four seasons without getting to the playoffs. Expect Obradovic and his team to be hungrier than ever, as Fenerbahce will be highly ambitious and determined to finally crash through that barrier and to go much farther.
Turkish Airlines Euroleague: Top 16
Turkish League: Champion
Turkish Cup: Semifinalist