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After undergoing a roster overhaul, Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul returned to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for the 2018-19 season with new stars such as Jeremy Evans, Oguz Savas and Zanis Peiners. Darussafaka got off to a strong start with a 71-63 win over Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in its home opener. Things went south after that as a 12-game losing streak forced Darussafaka not only to switch coaches - Selcuk Ernak replaced Ahmet Caki - but also to bring in new players, including point guard Toney Douglas. The club improved and won home games against Olympiacos Piraeus, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, Khimki Moscow Region and FC Bayern Munich, but it was not enough to avoid finishing last in the standings with a 5-25 record. Playing such a long, demanding EuroLeague caused Darussafaka to struggle in domestic competitions; the team did not make it to the Turkish Cup tournament and also missed the Turkish League playoffs. Darussafaka returns to the 7DAYS EuroCup for the first time since winning the competition in 2017 in what will be a new challenge for the club.
Darussafaka was founded as a multi-sport club in 1914 and 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 a two-game eighthfinals series against Hapoel Tel Aviv before losing to eventual champion Dinamo Tbilisi in the 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 for a long time. 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 quickly became a Turkish League playoff regular and returned to European competitions after a 35-year absence in the 1997-98 season. Led by Mike Ansley and William Strothers, Darussafaka lost against Crvena Zvezda in the Korac Cup eighthfinals. In the next season, it was ousted at the same stage by FC Barcelona. Then it reached either the Korac Cup or Saporta Cup eighthfinals over four consecutive years, took part in the ULEB Cup's maiden season in 2002-03 and returned to the competition two years later to post a winning record. Darussafaka 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 some of its competitiveness by the end of the decade and fell to the Turkish second division in 2010. Dogus Group took the club over and Darussafaka quickly delivered by returning to the top Turkish division in 2014. The next year it reached the Turkish Cup semifinals and finished third in the Turkish League regular season before losing in the playoff quarterfinals against Trabzonspor. In 2015-16, Darussafaka reached the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Top 16 in its debut in that competition and was seconds away from its first trophy in more than 50 years, but lost the Turkish Cup final against Fenerbahce Istanbul. The team reached the 2017 EuroLeague Playoffs led by Coach David Blatt and Will Clyburn before falling to Real Madrid in four games and at home lost in the semifinals to EuroLeague champ Fenerbahce Istanbul. Darussafaka rewrote the history books in the 2017-18 season behind Scottie Wilbekin as it swept its three knockout round series against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, FC Bayern Munich and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar to win the EuroCup. Wilbekin was the Regular Season MVP, EuroCup MVP and EuroCup Finals MVP. The season will be remembered as a resounding success as Darussafaka captured its first title in more than 50 years. Last season, Darussafaka missed both the
EuroLeague and the Turkish League playoffs, but returning to the EuroCup will be an inspiration for the club; it went all the way once and knows what it takes to do it again.