01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
Ufuk Sarica
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Sarica returns home to Besiktas

ISTANBUL (Basketball Champions League) – Besiktas JK, who will be competing in Basketball Champions League Qualification Round 2 for a place in the Regular Season, have trusted a familiar face in coach Ufuk Sarica with the task of steering them through the exciting challenges ahead.

The Istanbul side announced on Tuesday that they have penned a deal of 2+1 years with Sarica. The new Besiktas boss had terminated his playing career and then made his first steps as a coach at the same club, over a decade ago. The 44-year-old Turkish tactician replaces in the role Yagızer Ulug, who had taken over as interim coach late last season when Besiktas parted ways with Finland's Henrik Dettmann.

Sarica served Besiktas as an assistant and briefly as the head coach up until 2008, when he moved across Istanbul to work at Anadolu Efes alongside his mentor, Ergin Ataman. The duo maintain an excellent working relationship to date and, despite being one of the most highly regarded up-and-coming European tacticians, Sarica still collaborates with Ataman as his assistant on the Turkish national team.

In 2011 he assumed the head coaching position at Efes, but his career really took off after arriving at Pinar Karsiyaka the following year. Sarica first steered the Izmir club to the EuroChallenge final, then the Turkish Cup title of 2014 and finally to one of the most memorable feats in Turkish basketball history as Karsiyaka conquered the 2015 domestic league crown after toppling powerhouses Efes and Fenerbahce in the play-offs.

Sarica already knows that the roster he will have at his disposal will look very different to last season's squad as Besiktas have been busy in recent days with signing new players. The Turkish club has added 31-year-old guard DJ Strawberry who spent last season at Olympiacos Piraeus and had worked together with Sarica at Karsiyaka in the 2014/15 season, contributing 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Besiktas also signed 29-year-old sharp-shooter Michael Roll who is coming off an excellent season at fellow Turkish side Demir Büyükçekmece as he averaged 16.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists in the domestic league.

A few days prior Besiktas brought in all-round forward Kyle Weems, who played last season for French league finalists SIG Strasbourg. The 27-year-old American will go up against his former team in Group D of the Basketball Champions League in case Besiktas advance from Qualification Round 1. Just like Besiktas, Weems has a EuroChallenge title in his trophy case as he was a key member of the JSF Nanterre side that won the last edition of the competition.

Besiktas will go up against the winner of the Qualification Round 1 tie between Mornar Bar and Igokea in home and away games with the first leg taking place on 4 October and the second two days later in Istanbul.