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The success of Karsiyaka

By Niki Bakouli/

If you check on the map, you will find Karsiyaka at Izmir Providence and more specific at the northern and eastern coastline of the tip of the Gulf of Izmir. You can say that it’s an ideal place to live and work. And with a seaview that can blow your mind, you can always handle things in a better, more… clear, way.

Maybe this is one of the reasons Karsiyaka Pinar, οne of the oldest clubs in Turkey (it was founded on November 1rst, 1912) is at the second place of TBL, right. So far, Karsiyaka has won Besiktas (twice), Fenerbahce and Galatasaray and they are about to play with Fenerbahce, in Istanbul. In European competitions, they have reached Eurochallenge’s play-offs and they don’t intend to stop somewhere near here. Now their appetite got bigger, they want… to eat more and more.

Before we… explain the reasons to success, we have to remind you that Karsiyaka is a basketball club with a great tradition in general and on choosing foreign players. Henry Domercant went over there from the NCAA and Gary Neal, who now plays for the San Antonio Spurs, got his first pro contract from Karsiyaka.

A really good reason for Karsiyaka’s success is Pinar, the basketball club’s sponsor from 1998. And by that, you can understand the importance of the stabilitation. Pinar gives to this basketball club. Pinar (which means “spring of water”) is Turkey’s largest manufacturer of dairy products: it has a share of 24% in the country’s total dairy products exports -they export to 25 countries. They also distribute meat and at the end of the day they allow to Karsiyaka to focus on basketball, without having to worry for euros. They have a 3 to 3.5 mil. Euros as a budget and the administration know how to spend wisely.

Another good reason for Karsiyaka’s success is Ufuk Sarica! The legendary player of Efes (he was a member of the team which got Korac Cup, in 1996, he reached the European Cup’s final and he played along with Turkoglu, Onan and Besok), Ulkerspor, Pinar Karsiyaka, Darussafaka and Besiktas and a significant member of Turkey’s national team, signed a two-year contract with the team, on July 17, 2012, as the head coach of the team.

He chose to blend youth and experience (Evren Buker and Caner Topaloglu were ex-Galatasaray players, Bora Hun Pacun was an Efes ex-player, Can Maxim Mutaf played for Fenerbahce and Umit Sonkol had on his CV five different turkish teams), together with quality foreigners (Jon Diebler played last year at Panionios, Bobby Dixon came from ASVEL and Will Thomas’ last European experience was at BC Armia, in Georgia -he also holds Georgian citizenship).

A third reason which helps with the successes is the fans. They have the kind of supporters who know how to do just that: they support their beloved ones, no matter what. They don’t need a reason to go to Karsiyaka Arena. They go either way, to watch their team, without thinking if they play against a strong rival or… an easy one. The capacity of 5000 seats many times is not enough for all of them. And the sellouts are a common thing, in Karsiyaka’s life. The fans don’t create troubles. They are just cheering for their team. After all, that’s the true meaning of the word “fan” -in case many of you have forgotten…

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