1) Scottie Wilbekin joined Maccabi Tel Aviv BC. The 25 year old point guard signed with the Yellow & Blue after playing with Darussafaka last season as he helped the team win the EuroCup while also taking home the regular season and finals MVP award. Wilbekin scored 26ppg in the finals for coach David Blatt’s side while dropping 19.7ppg, 4.8apg, 2.4rpg and 1.6spg in regular season continental play. The Gainesville native played his college ball for the Florida Gators leading them to the NCAA Final Four in his senior year of 2014 while also being named SEC Player of the Year that same season. Wilbekin began his professional career in Australia for Cairns Taipans and then moved to Greece where he played for AEK Athens. The guard then went to Turkey and spent three seasons at Darussafaka, appearing in 51 Euroleague games and averaging 11.1ppg.
“I’m excited to join a big club like Maccabi and to be a part of the tradition of European basketball”, said Scottie Wilbekin to Maccabi’s official website. “I’m excited to see the team that’s being built in Tel Aviv and looking forward to see everybody soon, Yalla Maccabi.”
Coach Never Spahija added, “He’s one of the most promising point guards in Europe today. I hope that after the great job he has done in Darussafaka he is ready for another major step in Maccabi and in the EuroLeague, he’s an amazing person and teammate.”
2) HAPOEL BE’ER SHEVA DEFEAT FLORA TALLINN 4:1 IN UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIER By: Doug Cahn
The Estonian league champions Flora Tallinn and Israeli league title holders Hapoel Be’er Sheva squared off in Estonia in the 1st leg of first round Champions League qualifying.
Be’er Sheva looked like the stronger side from the get to as they dominated possession while creating numerous quality scoring opportunities early on. In the 20’ Be’er Sheva found the back of the goal as attacker Ben Sahar began the visitor’s scoring spree. Ben Bitton’s corner kick made its way to captain Maor Melikison who sent a perfect pass to set up Sahar with a nice strike on the ball from inside the box giving Head Coach Barak Bachar’s side a 1:0 lead. Be’er Sheva then drew a penalty that Shir Tzedek converted good for a 2:0 advantage at the break.
Vladimir Broun came on for Marwan Kabha in the 48’ of the contest for Bachar’s first substitute as Be’er Sheva continued to dominate taking a 3:0 lead thanks to Hanan Maman’s header in the box of a Ben Bitton cross in the 53’.
Be’er Sheva introduced their 2nd substitute of the game in the 61’ as goal scorer Maman exited in favor of Niv Zrihan. Flora then pulled a goal back in the 73’ from the penalty spot thanks to Rauno Sappinen which cut into Be’er Sheva’s lead 3:1. Bachar made his final sub of the game in the 79’ bringing on Tomáš Pekhart for goal scorer Sahar. Be’er Sheva would add one more goal in the 85’ when Melikson fed the ball to Hen Ezra who scored a beauty from the top of the box which wrapped up a tidy 4:1 away win. Next week, Be’er Sheva will host Flora for the 2nd leg with one foot already in the second round of Champions League qualifying where Dinamo Zagreb is waiting.
Following the match Head Coach Barak Bachar summed up the win, “You have to respect every opponent and the most important thing is that we won and that each victory will help us improve as we continue on.”
3) NBA Summer League
TJ Leaf second 20 points and pulled down 9 rebounds in 27 minutes for the Pacers.
Jonah Bolden of Maccabi Tel Aviv scored 10 points and grabbed 9 boards in 21 minutes for the 76ers.
Shawn Dawson scored 14 points in 21 minutes going 5/8 from the field for the Nets.
Bogdan Bliznyuk of Bnei Herzliya played 1 minute for the LA Clippers.
Kendrick Ray of Maccabi Tel Aviv scored 6 points and added 3 assists in 20 minutes for the Jazz.
TJ Cline of Hapoel Holon scored 5 points and pulled down 5 rebounds in 16 minutes of action for the Bucks.
Egor Koulechov recorded a DNP for the Orlando Magic.
Quick Hits – Ori Uzan has been named the Under-21 Youth Coach…Maccabi Tel Aviv FC departed for Budapest, Hungary for their Europa League Qualifier on Thursday against Ferencváros…Tal Ben Chaim scored a penalty for Sparta Prague in a friendly against Samara…Beitar Jerusalem left for Georgia for their Europa League contest versus Chikhura…The Euroleague Schedule was released today and can be found HERE…The Basketball Champions League will hold their group draw on Wednesday as Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon will find our who they’ll play in European competition…