BERLIN (Euroleague) - It was just several months ago that Elan Chalon and Besiktas were making waves in France and Turkey, respectively.
Chalon were busy winning games and getting to Finals, prevailing in the Semaine des As over Gravelines-Dunkerque, the Coupe de France over Limoges and the French league title showdown over Le Mans.
The only team to deny them glory in a competition they took part in was Besiktas of Turkey.
Having already won the Turkish Cup, Besiktas travelled to Hungary and beat Chalon in the EuroChallenge Final and then clinched a treble in their own right with a 4-2 triumph over Anadolu Efes in the Beko Basketbol Ligi Finals back in Istanbul.
This season, both Chalon and Besiktas have made the step up to the big time.
Each is competing in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and so far, so good.
Besiktas won at home against Partizan Belgrade last week, and Chalon beat visiting Asseco Prokom Gdynia.
The challenge facing Chalon on Thursday is Alba Berlin, a side that got a wild card to take part in the competition and one that looks determined to make the most of it.
Their coach, Sasa Obradovic, played for great Yugoslavia teams that won European titles in 1995 and 1997, and a gold medal at the 1998 FIBA World Championship.
He knows a good team when he sees it, and he says Chalon fully deserve their place in the Euroleague.
"The fact that Chalon reached the final game of four competitions and won three of them last season shows that they deserve to play in the Euroleague," Obradovic said on the Alba website.
"And that they also kept together their key players makes it a tough test for us in front of our own fans."
Chalon may be even better this season because they have Shelden Williams, a former standout at Duke University under Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Williams, the husband of USA women's superstar Candace Parker, has been solid for Chalon so far.
He had nine rebounds to go with his eight points in last week's win over Asseco Prokom while in France's top flight, he's averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Chalon, who are still coached by Gregor Beugnot, understand that they are playing on a bigger stage and for sharpshooter Ilian Evtimov, it's a great opportunity.
"For me, it is crystal clear," he said.
"I take it as a reward (for the titles in 2011-12).
"Since returning to Europe after playing in college in the United States, competing in the Euroleague has always been my goal.
"Our first game against Gdynia was not brilliant. But I'd rather play poorly and win, that play well and lose."
It's unlikely that Besiktas, meanwhile, will make as many headlines as they did last season when Deron Williams played for the club and scored 50 points in one EuroChallenge game against Gottingen.
Besiktas have certainly taken away some of limelight in Turkish basketball usually reserved for Fenerbahce, Anadolu Efes and Galatasaray.
This season's team is very different, though, both in terms of playing personal and coach.
Gone is boss Ergin Ataman, who joined Galatasaray.
Now at the helm is Erman Kunter, the former boss of Cholet in France.
Last season's team saw Team USA star Williams, Puerto Rico's Carlos Arroyo, Great Britain's Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Serbia's Zoran Erceg playing leading roles.
Besiktas also had Adam Morrison, who is trying to make it back in the NBA this season with Portland.
One player that has returned is Turkey international Serhat Cetin, the MVP of the club's Turkish Cup triumph last season.
Nothing builds confidence like wins, and the team's 81-65 triumph over Partizan Belgrade has the players feeling very good before Thursday's game at Brose Baskets Bamberg in Germany.
"We will try to keep going in the same way and improve our game," Cetin said.