|11 April 2014|
|Jure Zdovc has extended his contract with Royal Hali Gaziantep by a further two years|
In a demonstration of mutual confidence two weeks ahead of the EuroChallenge Final Four, Royal Hali Gaziantep and head coach Jure Zdovc have extended their current contract by a further two years.
The 47-year-old Slovenian legend, who is also the head coach of his country's national team, had arrived somewhat surprisingly at Gaziantep in late November.
He replaced at the helm former coach Aziz Bekir and had initially penned a deal with the club that runs until the end of the 2014/15 season.
With Zdovc in charge, Gaziantep's campaign underwent a spectacular turnaround which consisted of a 9-9 stretch in the Turkish BEKO TBL and a run to the EuroChallenge Final Four.
Gaziantep stood at 2-5 in the TBL at the time of the Slovenian's arrival and have now improved to 11-14 and have turned into candidates in the play-off race in what is only their second season in the domestic top flight.
The Turkish club are understandably delighted with what the coach has achieved in such a short amount of time and were eager to secure the long-term future of this collaboration.
"We are extremely pleased with the character and the work of the coach," Gaziantep president Metin Uzer said.
"Following the success of our collaboration, we want to take a further step and experience together some beautiful achievements.
"Hopefully, with Zdovc we will go from success to success in the domestic league and in Europe."
Gaziantep are taking on Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in the second EuroChallenge semi-final on 25 April and Zdovc commented the encounter during the signing of his contract extension.
"Our misfortune at the Final Four is that we are playing against the hosts, but every one of the four teams has a chance.
"It could also work in our favour, because it could create pressure on them."
Zdovc returned to the role of Slovenia head coach in January, almost four years after the end of his first, two-year long tenure.
His previous spell in charge of the Slovenian national team included EuroBasket 2009 in Poland and the 2010 World Championship.
He steered Slovenia into the semi-finals of the EuroBasket, which remains the country's best finish in the competition, and then to eighth place in the tournament in Turkey the following year.
The Slovenian commenced his coaching career in 2003 in the role of assistant at Krka Novo Mesto, following his highly decorated career as a player, during which he won both the EuroBasket and World Championship titles, with the national team of Yugoslavia.
He later worked as head coach at KK Split, Iraklis Thessaloniki, Bosna Sarajevo, Olimpija Ljubljana, before assuming the reins of Spartak St. Petersburg in 2011.
Zdovc led the Russian club to the Eurocup Final Four and earned the 'Coach of the Year' award of the competition during his first season in charge, but parted ways with Spartak last summer.