Club profile: Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir
Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir comes off a historic season and is set to make its Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut while bringing along its passionate fans for an exciting ride. Last season Karsiyaka won the Turkish League for the first time in 28 years and reached the Turkish Cup semifinals and the Eurocup quarterfinals. The club's Eurocup results came behind All-Eurocup Second Team point guard Bobby Dixon and were powered by a high-scoring offense that went undefeated in the Last 32 and in the eighthfinals against Lietuvos Rytas, before being ousted in a two-game series by the eventual finalist Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas. But Karsiyaka went on to make real noise during its run at home. After finishing the Turkish League regular season in fourth place, Karsiyaka first defeated Banvit Bandirma and ousted Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul in the semifinals, before besting Anadolu Efes Istanbul in the finals. Efes won the series opener, but Karsiyaka went on to win the next four games, including a season-clinching 71-85 road victory in Game 5 that allowed Karsiyaka to lift its first Turkish League crown this century. Now the club that has existed for more than a century moves into the role of Euroleague newcomer and will compete against the continental elite. Founded in 1912, Karsiyaka Sports Club opened its basketball section in 1966. It played in the first-ever Turkish League in 1966-67, but did not return to the competition for good until 1974. Its first great success came in the 1986-87 season, when Melvin Davis and John Wiley led the team to its first Turkish League title and the Presidential Cup. The club has competed in European competitions since the mid-1970s, but missed the chance to reach the 1987-88 Euroleague after a two-game preliminary round series against Pau Orthez of France. Karsiyaka is well known for having a loyal fan base and a reputation for scouting foreign players such as Henry Domercant, Marcus Slaughter, Quinton Hosley, Gary Neal and Ryan Toolson before they become stars. Karsiyaka reached the Turkish Cup final in 2005 and has since become a regular in the Turkish playoffs. Karsiyaka went all the way to the 2012-13 FIBA EuroChallenge title game only to come up short in a thrilling finale against Krasnye Krylia Samara. Later that season, it knocked off Fenerbahce to storm into the Turkish League semifinals, but Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul stopped its run. In 2013-14, Karsiyaka lifted its first trophy in 27 years; led by Dixon and Esteban Batista, it won the Turkish Cup by downing Efes in the final. The team also made noise by reaching the Eurocup Last 32, then rounded out a strong season by returning to the Turkish League semifinals. But Karsiyaka topped it all last season in one of the club's most successful campaigns and now is ready to meet the biggest challenge in club history and leave its mark while making its long-awaited Euroleague debut.