The Canadian Press/Chris Young
Photo: The Canadian Press/Chris Young

After struggling to live up to his number one draft pick billing, Anthony Bennett is heading to Istanbul to revive his professional basketball career.

The 23-year-old Bennett, who was selected as the first pick of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, has signed a season-long deal with Fenerbahce worth a reported $400,000.

He becomes the second first pick of an NBA Draft to arrive in the EuroLeague with Andrea Bargnani, a number one overall pick in 2007 for the Toronto Raptors, signing with Baskonia in the summer.

The introduction of Bennett though will create issues for coach Zeljko Obradovic on how to delegate minutes with Jan Vesely, Ekpe Udoh, Pero Antic and Luigi Datome all in the mix.

The move to Fenerbahce was helped along by its general manager Maurizio Gherardini who is also a member of Canada Basketball’s Council Of Excellence, the governing body for basketball in Canada.

The move to Istanbul gives the Canadian forward a second chance to rejuvenate his basketball career that started with so much hope when he declared himself for the draft. Bennett averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game for UNLV despite only averaging 27.1 minutes a game.

His minutes dropped considerably when Bennett was sidelined with a shoulder injury but undeterred, he headed to the draft and was the first player on the podium in 2013.

Anthony Bennett was selected as the number one overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. But his career in the league never took off. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images.

However, his career in the NBA never got going. He recorded his first double-digit scoring game after 33 tries in a 100-89 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in January, 2014 and has since bounced around the league with stints for Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets.

Bennett’s second chance with Fenerbahce comes with the Turkish side currently 10-7 in the EuroLeague following a 75-73 loss to Crvena Zvezda last night in Belgrade.