Banvit will bring new meaning to home court advantage in Basketball Champions League
BANDIRMA (Basketball Champions League) - Passionate fans are what it is all about in European basketball. And a few places can measure up to standards set in Bandirma, where Banvit BK team enjoys an electric atmosphere each time it steps on the court of Kara Ali Acar Sport Hall.
"If you check the statistics and the winning percentage, you could see how much our fans make us better at home," said Turgay Zeytingoz, Banvit's General Manager,.
His club is a force on its home court. In the regular season of current Turkish championship, Banvit have won 12 of their 15 games at home. Even the more famous teams like Galatasaray, Fenerbahce Ulker and Besiktas have lost in the country's northwest.
"Bandirma is a small town with a population of around 150,000. Banvit BK is very important for the town because Bandirma people have a chance to see the great players and good, high level games thanks to the Banvit organisation," Zeytingoz added. "We are also investing in the junior teams section, and this is a great blessing for Bandirma as well. At the same time, we are grateful to our fans due to their great support so far. We have lived through bad and good days, but they never gave up on us."
Banvit was founded in 1994 and became a regular member of the Turkish top-tier competition 10 years on. In a short amount of time, a lot of well-known names have been a part of the organisation, such as Turkish national team members Serkan Erdogan and Ermal Kuqo. The foreign players have also stayed loyal to Banvit.
"The first that come to my mind are Miroslav Radosevic and Chuck Davis," Zeytingoz stated.
Radosevic was a FIBA European Championship winner with Yugoslavia in 1997, while American-born naturalised Azerbaijani Davis played for Banvit between 2009 and 2015.
"Miroslav played here for several years and affected us a lot with his personality and amazing talent. We still have a connection with him and he is one of the legends in Banvit history. And Chuck Davis played for us for six years. In these six years he showed his great character and winning talent," Zeytingoz recalled.
"Besides the players, I would like to mention Dimitris Itoudis' name as a coach. He had a great season over here and now he is in CSKA Moscow and won a big title in Europe. We are proud of his achievements as well."
European success is what Banvit have on their mind right now. The team enjoyed a brilliant run in its European debut, reaching the FIBA EuroCup Challenge Semi-Finals in 2005.
The Basketball Champions League (BCL) provides another opportunity for Zeytingoz and the club.
Definitely it was not a tough decision for us [to get on board with the Basketball Champions League] because we know that FIBA is the highest basketball authority in the world, and we are quite excited to participate in the BCL. - Zeytingoz
Banvit reached the final of the Turkish League in 2013, but did not receive a wild card for the following season's Euroleague campaign. Such a scenario wouldn't be possible with the BCL's qualifying process, which rewards the results of teams in the domestic championship.
"That is what's fair for everyone. We can certainly be on the same page and support the decision that the deserving teams should be in BCL," Zeytingoz summed up.
Shoud they repeat the European success of 2005, Banvit would stand to gain a big part of the BCL's financial cake.
"First of all, money is a big motivation for the teams and surely will affect their budgets and financial situations. But considering how big the team budgets are, awards should be even bigger in the near future."