Club profile: Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul comes off a strong season in which the team claimed a third-place finish in the Turkish League regular season and hopes to make the most of its invitation to compete in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Darussafaka, coached by Oktay Mahmuti and led by Jordan Farmar and Jamon Gordon, lost in the Turkish League quarterfinals to Trabzonspor and also reached the Turkish Cup semifinals. Founded as a multi-sport club in 1914, Darussafaka found early success in football and volleyball before opening its basketball section in 1951. It took Darussafaka a decade to win its first Turkish League title in 1961. The club made its European debut in the 1961-62 Champions Cup and survived the eighthfinals two-way series against Hapoel Tel Aviv before losing to eventual champion Dinamo Tbilisi in the two-game quarterfinals. Darussafaka bounced back and successfully defended its Turkish League title in 1962, but it would prove to be the club's last major trophy to date. The club took part in the 1962-63 Euroleague and lost in the first qualifying round to Honved Budapest. Darussafaka ceased to be a title contender soon after that, went down to the second division in 1968 and did not return to the Turkish elite until the 1992-93 season. The team soon became a Turkish League playoffs regular - in a 12-team format - and reached the quarterfinals in the 1995-96 season. Darussafaka returned to European competitions in the 1997-98 season, led by Mike Ansley and William Strothers, and lost against Crvena Zvezda in the Korac Cup eighthfinals. Darussafaka advanced to the Korac Cup eighthfinals again in 1999 before losing to FC Barcelona on point difference, and also was eliminated in the same round in the 2000 Saporta Cup and the 2001 Korac Cup. Darussafaka took part in the ULEB Cup's maiden season in 2002-03 and returned to the competition two years later to record a winning record. The club also advanced to the Turkish Cup final in 2002, but lost to Efes Pilsen. Cevher Ozer, Cuneyt Erden and Acie Earl were some of its best-known players in the early 2000s, when Darussafaka reached the Turkish League semifinals in 2001 and 2002. The team lost competitiveness by the end of the decade and fell to the Turkish second division in 2010. When Dogus took the club over, Darussafaka quickly delivered by returning to the Turkish first division in 2014 - and with a Euroleague return after more than half a century, the best, it appears, is yet to come.