Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen has signed with Bakirkoy of the Turkish Basketball League.

Abbotsford’s Klassen signs with Turkish Basketball League team

Yale Secondary grad joins Bakirkoy, set to compete in top European league

Abbotsford’s Marek Klassen is taking his talents to Turkey.

The 2010 Yale Secondary grad officially signed on the dotted line with a team based in Bakirkoy, a suburb of the capital city of Istanbul.

It marks a considerable jump in talent from the British Basketball League, where Klassen spent last season starring with the Worcester Wolves.

The news all came together fast for Klassen, who said he’s looking forward to suiting up against some of the best competition in Europe.

“I have an agent working overseas for me and on Monday I got a message from him telling about this incredible opportunity,” he said. “There were only two other Canadians playing in Turkey last year. It’s the best league in Europe and I’m just super excited.”

Klassen said the Turkish league features bigger budgets and deeper talent overall than the BBL.

“I don’t know if anyone has ever made the jump from England to Turkey,” he said. “If I do well, then it’s really serious. I’ve already got the team’s playbook from them and have been studying it non-stop.”

The turnaround is pretty fast for Klassen. He arrives in Turkey today (Friday). The team starts preseason on Monday and that continues for three to four weeks. Bakirkoy is set to travel throughout Turkey and Greece prior to the Turkish Basketball League’s season opener in October.

“It all just kind of came together. I didn’t sleep for two nights while we were negotiating, ” he said, with a laugh.

Every team in the TBL is allowed only two imports, which means there are high expectations on Klassen for this season.

“I’ll be starting, and with imports they are coming in as impact players,” he said. “I’m expecting to play a lot and want to do well in the league. I want to prove myself, come in there and be a dog and have a good work ethic.”

Last year the TBL’s only two Canadian talents were NBA first overall draft pick Anthony Bennett and former New York Knicks guard Andy Rautins.

“They’re both two guys who played in the league, so that’s the kind of talent in the TBL,” Klassen said.

It has been a long basketball journey for Klassen, who led the Yale Lions to a AAA basketball provincial title in 2010 and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. He played his college ball for the Point Loma Nazarene University Sea Lions, earning a third team conference all-star mention for the NCAA Division II school in 2015. He also helped the Sea Lions win a National Christian Colleges Athletic Association championship in 2014.

From there, he played professionally in both Romania and England before inking the deal with his new club.

But Abbotsford is never far from the mind of the 25-year-old. He spends parts of every summer here, and has hosted skills camps for local youth. Klassen also competed at the second annual MSA Outdoor Classic earlier this month, helping the Private Barbershop team repeat as champions.

He said he’s thrilled to see basketball continue to thrive in Abbotsford.

“Abbotsford basketball is growing a lot,” he said. “There are so many opportunities out there for young kids, and, for myself, it feels really good to be able to give back to Abbotsford.”

Just Posted

Mudslides close Highway 1 between Hope and Chilliwack

Geotechnicians are on scene and an assessment is underway.

City of Abbotsford to pay $1.5 million toward Ledgeview clubhouse replacement

New facility, including banquet hall, at city-owned course to cost $5.67 million in total

Doctors not meeting hand hygiene targets in B.C. hospitals

In the Fraser Valley and across the province, nurses outperform physicians in keeping hands clean

Missing teen found safe

Boy had last been seen in Central Abbotsford on Nov. 10

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

5 to start your day

Coquitlam dog walker rescued, education minister blasts Chilliwack trustee and more

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges

Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims

Hurricanes breeze past Giants in WHL action

Vancouver’s four-game home-ice winning streak at Langley Events Centre comes to an end in disappointing 5-2 loss

VIDEO: ‘She is a tough cookie,’ says husband of found Coquitlam dog walker

Annette Poitras found alive in the woods on Wednesday morning

Lower Mainland teen seeks funding for $750,000 drug Soliris

Paul Chung is hopeful that, like Shantee Anaquod, he will be approved for costly aHUS treatment

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

Most Read