2011-12 Qualifying Rounds Profile: BK Banvit

Sep 02, 2011 by Euroleague.net Print
BK Banvit
2010-11 Results
Eurocup
Regular Season:
2-4
Turkish League:
Semifinalist
Turkish Cup:
Quarterfinalist
Banvit Basketbol Kulubu continues to be a shining example of how to build a club from virtually nothing and turn it into a rising European power. In less than two decades, Banvit BK has gone from being a local team in a factory to knocking on the door of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Last season Banvit reached new heights with a winning record at home in its first season in the Eurocup and a shot at the Last 16 stage before running into eventual champ Unics Kazan in the regular season finale. Now the pride of Turkey’s Marmara Region aims higher. 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, finished the Turkish regular season with a 21-9 record and knocked off powerhouse Turk Telekom to reach the playoff semifinals for the first time in club history. The next season Banvit came within one win from reaching the FIBA Eurocup Last 16. Despite marquee additions like Marque Perry and Bekir Yarangume, the team could not get past the Turkish League quarterfinals and was swept by Efes Pilsen. 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 in which the team was ousted from the FIBA EuroChallenge in the qualifying round and missed the Turkish League playoffs. Banvit bounced back with former playmaking great Orhun Ene as head coach and a nice core of players featuring led by 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. Last season Banvit sampled the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds and played in the Eurocup Regular Season before turning its attention to domestic competition and reaching the playoff semifinals again.

This season begins with the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds as the prime target of a rising team with lofty goals. Which is why Banvit reinforced itself with primetime players with experience at the highest levels. The new frontcourt tandem of Kenan Bajramovic and Cemal Nalga were teammates last season at Lietuvos Rytas and provide a healthy mix of power and finesse. Lance Williams remains from last season too, giving Ene a strong trio in the paint. Scoring machine Serkan Erdogan will have an important role at shooting guard and will also surely be one of the squad’s vocal leaders. Simmons returns for a third season with Banvit as a complete package at small forward. Without a doubt the most important addition may be point guard Cliff Hammonds, whose scoring and passing skills will be called upon to lead the team early. If they all come together quickly, Banvit could be the big surprise of this season’s Qualifying Rounds.
Lance Williams - Banvit BK
Lance Williams

ROSTER
Keith Simmons
G
Serkan Erdogan More
G
Erkan Veyseloglu
F
Cliff Hammonds More
G
Kenan Bajramovic More
F
Lance Williams More
C
Cemal Nalga More
C
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Head Coach:
Orhun Ene