Istanbul’s Besiktas, for the second consecutive year will play in a group with Zenit in the first group stage of the European Cup. Last season St. Petersburg lost both matches, but at the home game the players of Vasily Karasev had to play in Kazan because of the double-booking of the Sibur-Arena. In the next stage Besiktas took third place in their group and did not get into the playoffs. Besiktas have two national titles and in their team once played NBA stars such as Allen Iverson and Deron Williams. In last season’s Turkish championship Besiktas performed badly, finishing only ninth in the regular championship but they did get into the playoffs.
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
The club from Vilnius are the main competitor of Zalgiris in the fight for the title of the of the Lithuanian basketball championship. Unfortunately for the team from the capital, the last five seasons have seen the championship go to Kaunas, although Rytas in all those years only once failed to reach the playoff final. Last season Zalgiris had many decisive victories over opponent with a score of 4:0. As for the European Cup Rytas easily made it to the playoffs, but in the first round lost to Turkish club Karsiyaka.
Last year's season was not only a debut for Zenit but also the first in the elite of Russian basketball for Avtodor. Saratov, one of the real basketball cities of Russia, as evidenced by the almost always filled stadium, the Crystal Sports Palace. Even when Avtodor players didn’t compete in the elite division, the local school continued to give the country a number of talented basketball players. As for the club in last season’s United League Avtodor came seventh, losing in the quarterfinals against Khimki, and in the Challenge Cup they reached the quarterfinals.
PAOK abbreviation can be deciphered and translated as Constantinopolitans Athletic Club of Thessaloniki. They are most well known of course for the football side of the club, but the basketball team has its good winning tradition. The best performances of PAOK came in 1980s and 90s. The team won one of their two league titles and always came at least fourth in the league. In the past decade PAOK have been lost in mid-table in the Greek Championship, but during the 2010/11, season the team finished third. In last season’s European Cup PAOK came second in the group stage, but then finished last in the next group of four.
Szolnok Olay (Hungary)
As with Besiktas the club from the city of Szolnok were an opponent of Zenit in the group stage of last season's European Cup. Then visit the blue-white-sky blues gave way to Hungary in a thrilling ending with a score of 96:94, but Zenit certainly took revenge 81:61. Szolnok are the current leaders of Hungarian basketball. Of the last five national championships, The Oilmen have won four, including the season-2014/15.