Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Zenit St. Petersburg on Gameday 14 of Euroleague action, Tuesday at 19:00 Israel time. This will be the first time ever that the squads will tip off against one another as the Yellow & Blue will look to add another win to their 9-4 record as they sit in 4th place in the standings. Zenit enters the contest will a league worst 3-10 record as former Maccabi center Colton Iverson will meet his former team after spending last season with Tenerife.
Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s club will have only 10 healthy players for the clash as Tarik Black, Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters and John Dibartolomeo are all ruled out. The Yellow & Blue will come into Russia after beating CSKA Moscow in Israel last week while also taking the Tel Aviv Derby on Saturday night against Hapoel. Aaron Jackson who signed with Maccabi on Monday will join the team next week and will help pick up some of the slack in the back court with the absences of Wolters and Dibartolomeo.
Coach Sfairopoulos who just signed a contract extension spoke about the challenge that lies ahead, “We have a great motivation from one side and we play one more game with a lot of absences on the other side. They have good players in every position. We need to find solutions with our fighting spirit and heart. We need everybody to be ready to play and give maximum. It’s one more challenge.”
Star guard Scottie Wilbekin also looked ahead to the first of two Euroleague games as Maccabi will host Panathinaikos on Thursday night at Yad Eliyahu, “I feel good. I’m ready to start this double week. Coach is doing a good job getting us ready and rest when he can rest us. I didn’t play too much in the derby and we need to optimize our time to rest and time to work.”
Make sure to listen to The Sports Rabbi’s interview with Zenit star Tim Abromaitis along with Moshe Halickman’s analysis of Israeli basketball including European play!