Summer holidays are over and it is time for Maccabi Tel Aviv BC to get down to business. This year’s Maccabi team will definitely be playing with a chip on its shoulder following a season that did not go according to plan.
The post-David Blatt era began on a sour note, as Maccabi failed to reach the finals of the Israeli Super League for the first time since 1993. After being crowned champions of European basketball the previous year, Maccabi fell one round short of a return to the EuroLeague Final Four after Fenerbahce Ulker swept the defending champs aside.
Naturally, Maccabi responded to the disappointments by calling in reinforcements, including two-time NBA champion Jordan Farmar. Farmar should, of course, be a familiar face to Maccabi fans, and are thrilled to have him back. The former UCLA star came over from the Nets during the 2011 NBA lockout to come play for Maccabi.
Upon rejoining Maccabi, Farmar told the team website, “I’m very excited, happy to have received this opportunity and ready for the big challenge. I can’t wait for the moment that I return to the place which is like a home to me- the State of Israel, the city of Tel Aviv, and Maccabi.”
The frontcourt was strengthened too. Big man Vitor Faverani, who failed to make his mark in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, figures to play a more significant role in the Maccabi squad. Faverani has national team experience representing Brazil, and has a great European basketball resume, having competed in Spain for eight seasons.
Trevor Mbakwe brings additional physical presence and athleticism. Mbakwe excelled at the collegiate level with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, where he led the Big Ten conference in rebounding with 10.5 boards per game in 2009-10. The 26 year old forward/center played one season in Italy and another in Germany before finding his way to Tel Aviv.
Taylor Rochestie also joins the team from abroad. The American-Montenegrin may back up Farmar at the point.
With all this new blood joining proven veterans like Devin Smith and Yogev Ohayon, expect Maccabi to be back on the radar domestically and internationally. Having had a season to acclimate to Coach Guy Goodes’ methods should help too.
United States based fans will get an early in person look at the new and improved Maccabi team, as the Yellow and Blue will take on legendary club Armani Milano in a pair of preseason tune ups. The first game will take place at the home of the Chicago Bulls, the United Center, on October 1, followed by a rematch at the legendary Madison Square Garden on October 4th.
For the latest news and views on Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball throughout the season, there’s only one place to visit online: The Sports Rabbi!