One of the greatest rebounders in Euroleague history and an icon in Turkish basketball, Mirsad Turkcan holds a special place in the hearts of his country's fans and the Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul faithful. Turkcan was the first Turk to play in the NBA, was named an All-Euroleague selection three times and won both a regular season and a Top 16 MVP award. Turkcan played with the kind energy and emotion that made him the very soul of his teams. So exceptional was Turkcan on the boards that every possession he spent on the floor seemed like another chance for him to grab a rebound.
Turkcan led the Euroleague in rebounding during five different seasons. His averages of 12.8 in 2001-02 and 11.8 rebounds the following year are the highest ever when a player appeared in 15 games or more in any Euroleague season. He still holds the mark for most defensive rebounds in competition history and his career average of 9.98 rebounds is second-best. Turkcan was also the long-time holder of marks for both career total and single-season rebounds until the late stages of the Top 16 this season, when the records were broken by Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid and Boban Marjanovic of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, respectively. Not just a rebounder, Turkcan also averaged almost 12 points in 129 Euroleague games this century.
Just six times in Euroleague history has a player grabbed more than 20 rebounds in a game; Turkcan was responsible for four of those. His 21 rebounds against Eldo Napoli in 2006, his first season with Fenerbahce, is a club record that stands to this day. Turkcan spent the final seven seasons of his 18-year career with Fenerbahce and led the club to a run of four Turkish League titles and two Turkish Cups in five seasons between 2006 and 2011. After Turkcan decided to retire, Fenerbahce honored him in 2012 by retiring his No.6 jersey, the one he wore while setting so many Euroleague rebounding marks.
MOMENTS IN TIME
1993: EUROPEAN DEBUT
Ulker played its first-ever game in European competitions on September 29, 1993, downing Avtodorozhnik Saratov of Russia 68-72 in the 1993-94 Korac Cup qualifying rounds.
2000: CLOSE TO THE FINAL FOUR
Ulker defeated FC Barcelona 63-60 in Game 2 of their best-of-three Euroleague playoffs series behind 16 points from Ufuk Sarica. Barcelona took do-or-die Game 3, 86-65.
2005: A PLAYOFFS TRIP
In its Top 16 finale, Ulker rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 5 minutes to beat Cibona Zagren 64-68, qualifying to the Euroleague playoffs, in which CSKA prevailed.
2006: A NEW SUPERPOWER
Ulkerspor merged with Fenerbahce's basketball section to form Fenerbahce Ulker. The club has won as many as five league titles since that moment, dominating Turkish basketball.
2015: FIRST-EVER FINAL FOUR!
Fenerbahce Ulker swept defending champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to seal its ticket to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. It became the first Turkish team to reach the Euroleague Final Four since 2000.