Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul should be ready for some emotional returns and many thrilling games during the 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. Here are a few to keep an eye on.
Games to Watch: Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Round 3: De Colo, Lauvergne check in
Fenerbahce fans will see many of the club’s former stars visit Ulker Sports and Event Hall this season and the parade will start with Nando de Colo and Joffrey Lauvergne of LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne already in the team’s second home game. Both players joined ASVEL over the summer with de Colo coming directly from Fenerbahce, where he spent the past three seasons and was a teammate of eight the team’s current players. He also previously played for Fenerbahce head coach Dimitris Itoudis at CSKA Moscow. Lauvergne played for Fenerbahce from 2018 through 2020.
Round 6: Catching up with Vesely
In what should be a very special game, Fenerbahce visits FC Barcelona in a game that will see a star on both sides face their former team. While Barcelona center Jan Vesely will face Fenerbahce for the first team since leaving the club, Fenerbahce playmaker Nick Calathes and forward Nigel Hayes-Davis return to Barcelona after leading that club to the semifinals last season. Vesely played eight seasons with Fenerbahce and led it to five consecutive Final Fours, three straight EuroLeague Championship Games, the 2017 crown and was chosen as the 2019 MVP. Another Barcelona player, Nikola Kalinic, played for Fenerbahce from 2015 through 2020. Calathes and Hayes-Davis were teammates of nine current Barcelona players and should receive warm welcomes in their first time back at Palau Blaugrana.
Round 11: Renewing the Real rivalry
In recent years, Real and Fenerbahce have stood in each other's way to EuroLeague success. Real defeated Fenerbahce 96-87 in the 2015 semifinals. Fenerbahce bounced back in the 2016 playoffs, when it swept Los Blancos. Fenerbahce also prevailed in the 2017 semifinals, 75-84, taking a critical step to lifting the trophy. Real had not said its final word and downed Fenerbahce in the 2018 Championship Game, 85-80. Luka Doncic was chosen as the 2018 Final Four MVP. The teams split home wins last season. Real edged Fenerbahce 70-69 at Wizink Center on go-ahead free throws by Vincent Poirier with 10.7 seconds left and Fenerbahce topped Los Blancos 66-51 at home.
Round 15: Obradovic comes to town
There will be two very special comebacks at Ulker Sports Arena. Partizan head coach Zeljko Obradovic turned Fenerbahce into a EuroLeague championship-level squad. In his seven seasons as head coach, Obradovic took Fenerbahce to five consecutive Final Fours and three straight championship games, including lifting the trophy in 2017. Before that, Fenerbahce had not even made it to a Final Four. Obradovic also won four Turkish League and three Turkish Cup titles from 2013 to 2020. He will be back to meet Fenerbahce fans in a EuroLeague game for the first time since his departure.
Round 27: Wilbekin returns to Tel Aviv
It should be a very special night for Scottie Wilbekin, who joined Fenerbahce after four seasons with Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. Wilbekin led the team in scoring in all four seasons, during which he amassed 1,801 points (14.5 ppg.) in 124 EuroLeague career games. He also led Maccabi to three consecutive Israeli League championships from 2019 to 2021. Wilbekin is back to Turkey after a strong showing with Darussafaka Istanbul, with which he earned EuroCup MVP and EuroCup Finals MVP titles while leading his team to the crown. Maccabi fans will welcome Wilbekin again, this time wearing a Fenerbahce jersey.