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

Vancouver Motorcycle Show underway at Abbotsford’s Tradex

Event runs until 8 p.m. Saturday, and opens one last day tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

City’s parks still need repairs after windstorm

Repairs still needed in several Abbotsford parks after wind felled trees

Snowball Classic finals set

Mount Vernon, Burnaby South to square off at Abbotsford Senior on Saturday night

Man, 24, charged with nine sexual offences in Abbotsford and Mission

Alleged victim, who he met online, is under the age of 16

Abbotsford parents can no longer opt kids out of class content for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read