In 1905, a group of students attending the imperial Galatasaray High School in Istanbul, situated in the Galata district, decided to create a football team in which only high school students could play. In 1911, Ahmet Robenson, an Anglo-Turkish physical education teacher at the school, brought basketball to the town and created a basketball team at Galatasaray. After more than a century, the Galatasaray multi-sport complex contains 16 sections for 13 sports (including bridge and chess…) and, in a polyhedral town like Istanbul, it has always been considered to be the representative secular middle-class team of the city.
Recently, Galatasaray has just had its worst season in the past 8 years. After
ending the Super Ligi regular season in ninth position, it failed to reach the playoffs, for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. This was the end of a catastrophic year, in which they did not participate in the domestic cup, held in February. In the EuroCup, the Galata Lions ended in the Top 16, finishing with 6 wins and 10 defeats. It was a very poor result and way below the Turkish club’s expectations. That is why for the new season, the team has decided to renew the roster and the bench, in the hope of a prompt return into the spotlight.
Among last season’s roster players, the team captain Goksenin Koksal is the only one remaining from the team which won the EuroCup in 2016, after winning the double final against Strasbourg. Then there are the young players Ege Arar (21 years old) and Serkan Aydin (born in 2000). On the other hand, many interesting new arrivals have come, such as Tai Webster, a New Zealand combo guard from Skyliners Frankfurt, Jaka Klobucar, Erol Can Cinko, (a former player at Banvit) and Aaron Harrison, his first European adventure after an excellent university career and many years in the G-League, which included some occasional NBA appearances. The low post players section has also been renewed, with Nigel Hayes (with an average of 15.1 points per game in his rookie first season with Westchester Knicks G-League) and Zach Auguste, from Panathinaikos Athens, while the Turkish contingent in the roster will be represented by the expert 31 years
old Caner Erdeniz, as well as by Can Korkmaz, Emir Gokalp and Ayberk Olmaz.
Last January Galatasaray, after some poor results and a failure to qualify for the Turkish domestic cup, entrusted the technical section to coach Oktay Mahmuti, who failed to move the season into a positive direction. Even though he signed for this season, the senior management of ‘Gala’ decided to end his second season on the yellow and reds bench, and dismissed him as the head coach. In his place on the bench, will be Ertugrul Erdogan, born in 1968, and who has been coaching Istanbul BB for the last three seasons. Tenth place in the championship, the best result in the last three years, is not representative of Erdogan’s coaching qualities, who during his career has held the role of assistant coach for both Fenerbahce and the Turkish National team. Leading the ‘Gala’ bench is a great opportunity for him.
The historical Abdi Ipekei Arena doesn’t exist anymore. The old arena situated near the ancient walls of Constantinople was demolished this year after its most famous team had already left in 2017. The arena of the Cimboms (this is the name of the team’s most passionate supporters), is now the huge Sinan Erdem Dome, with a seating capacity of 16,000, the third largest multi-purpose arena in Europe. In 2017 it was the venue for both EuroLeague and EuroBasket finals. Istanbul’s arena, where Anadolu Efes is also playing, is dedicated to Sinan Erdem, the former Galatasaray volleyball player and president of the Turkish Olympic Committee, who died without fulfilling his dream of succeeding in bringing the Olympic Games to Istanbul.