The second phase of the brand-new EuroLeague Academy got underway on Monday with the launch of a youth basketball tournament in Istanbul.
EuroLeague Academy is an innovative series of basketball competitions for boys and girls. The grassroots project was launched in Tel Aviv on Saturday, and the Istanbul tournament will be followed by similar events in Athens and Vitoria-Gasteiz over the next few weeks.
The tournament in Turkey includes 16 school teams of under-12 players, born in 2007 or later, with mixed-gender teams. EuroLeague clubs Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul are both supporting the project, each partnering with eight schools on the European and Asian sides of the city, respectively. The schools will be divided into two groups of eight teams, with each group supported by one of the clubs.
The contestants will play a round-robin format during the group phase, with the top four from each group advancing to a single-elimination quarterfinals and then to the EuroLeague Academy Tournament Final Four Istanbul, a one-day event where the semifinals and final will all be staged.
The group supported by Efes will started the competition on Monday, with Fenerbahce's group set to begin their games next week. The eight teams in Efes's group have been selected from campuses of the Okyanus College: Beykent, Fatih, Halkali, Avcilar, Bayrampasa, Bahcesehir, Mimar Sinan and Kemerburgaz. All games are being hosted at the Bahcesehir campus. The Turkish Basketball Federation has also contributed to the tournament by providing the referees.
Gokce Dayi, Anadolu Efes CBO & Marketing/Corporate Affairs Manager, said: "As one of the founding clubs of the EuroLeague, Anadolu Efes Sports Club is so happy to be a part of the EuroLeague Academy, a new initiative of Euroleague Basketball.
"We are sure that this project will contribute to the social development of children and will help them be healthier individuals by gathering them together with their peers. Believing that basketball is more than just sport, we are one of the clubs with the biggest share in helping the love of basketball to reach more people. Therefore, we believe that we will add great value to the EuroLeague Academy, together with our partner Okyanus College. Anadolu Efes will be a committed part of the Euroleague Academy."