1) Hapoel Jerusalem center Rich Howell has tested positive for a banned substance (Cannabis) after Hapoel Jerusalem’s first quarterfinal playoff game against Hapoel Gilboa/Galil. Howell scored 17 points going 8/8 from the field in a 85-78 loss. Uri Barnea, Rich Howell’s representative said, “No one from WADA or the Israel Basketball Association has told us anything. We shouldn’t be hearing about this first from the media.” Howell himself said, “Once the strike hit the league ended, so I smoked a little bit. I would never do this during the season but the league ended our season. I didn’t know they were going to begin playing again and restarting the season. I haven’t heard anything from Jerusalem or the Association.” It’s still unclear what the disciplinary action will be or if any will take place.
2)Maccabi Tel Aviv will welcome Serbian side Radnicki to the Netanya Stadium at 20:00 on Thursday night in first leg second round Europa League qualifying. Head Coach Vladimir Ivic looked ahead to the task at hand, “I think that every stage is more difficult and this is something that we have in front of us. We finished the first stage and the next opponent is Radnicki. They may not have the name but they are very difficult and strong team. We must be ready to give 100% in both games to make it past the next stage.”
Hapoel Haifa will face Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar FH of Iceland on Thursday night 19:00 Israel time at Sammy Ofer Stadium in first leg second round Europa League action. Head Coach Nir Klinger looked ahead to the contest, “We are all excited to return to Europe. This is an amazing experience and we need to appreciate it. It’s not an easy opponent, physical and tall, technical and a squad that likes to go on the attack.”
3) Reserve Basketball League on the way. The Israel Basketball Super League announced that they will propose an initiative together with the Ministry of Culture and Sport to start a Reserve League similar to the NBA’s G-League for players between the ages of 18-22 which would allow younger players the ability to develop, gain experience and receive more playing time. This league would solve the issue of the missing level of Israeli basketball between the youth leagues and the pros with each Super League team fielding a reserve league team where players can move freely between the squads.
Quick Hits – Jonah Bolden signs with the Philadelphia 76ers after playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv this last season…Former Maccabi Haifa BC Coach Ofer Rahimi is the new Hapoel Haifa BC man on the sidelines…Tom Maayan signed with Maccabi Ashdod…Center Alex Tyus remains with Maccabi Tel Aviv BC…Israeli aboard Eran Zahavi scored a brace and a 97′ winning penalty to give Guangzhou R&F a 3:2 quarterfinal cup win over Jiangsu…Gaby Kanicovsky signed with Maccabi Netanya…