Maccabi Tel Aviv is going all in on Tyler Dorsey after registering the guard as a foreigner for tonight’s Israeli Classico against Hapoel Jerusalem (21:00 Yad Eliyahu). By submitting his name for the contest, the Yellow & Blue have given up on Dorsey receiving Israeli citizenship while also using up their 7th foreigner slot of eight for the 2019/20 Israel Winner League. Of course, there are no limitations on how many foreigners can play in the Euroleague.
It was quite surprising to see Maccabi make this move especially after his display this past Thursday night against Valencia and the fact that Coach Ioannis Sfairpoulos said outright the reason the Pasadena, California native played only four minutes was because he didn’t like what he saw, how he played and that he would need to play better if he wanted more opportunities.
Well it looks like Dorsey will be getting his opportunity.
“I have a scorer’s mentality first and foremost,” Dorsey told me during the preseason. “Defensively I want to be a great on the ball defender and apply pressure full court and play both sides at a high level.”
One can’t blame Dorsey for his poor showing thus far in the Euroleague because he really hasn’t been given a tremendous amount of minutes in order to show his wares. Having played an average of only 9 minutes in four games and scoring just two points per contest, Dorsey hasn’t exactly set the house on fire. The club had been waiting to see if he would receive Israeli citizenship to go along with his American and Greek passports but apparently that option has been taken off the table even though his mother was born in Jerusalem.
Dorsey didn’t play in the Winner Cup Final against Hapoel Jerusalem in September, a game that the Reds won and Head Coach Oded Katash doesn’t think that his insertion now will make a difference in his preparations for the game, “It didn’t change how we are getting ready for the game. All of their guards including the ones not registered are all dangerous.”
At Oregon, Dorsey starred for the Ducks and helped lead them to the 2017 NCAA Final Four where they finally bowed out to eventual Champions North Carolina. After averaging over 14 points in his two years in college he turned up his scoring during March Madness and earned the nickname Mr. March while raising his average by 10 points to 24 points per game.
After being selected with the 41st pick of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Dorsey dropped 6.7 points per game in 104 total contests in the world’s greatest league finishing off last season with the Memphis Grizzlies after being traded for Shelvin Mack who also ironically moved to Europe to play for Milano.
The next month will be crucial for Maccabi and Dorsey with not only Euroleague and Israeli league games but also State Cup games which may also be the reason the Yellow & Blue decided to bite the bullet and register him. With a total of 14 potential matchups coming up including four of seven Euroleague games on the road, it will be all hands on deck for the Yellow & Blue in a crucial month of November.
“The basketball in Israel and the Euroleague is a bit different, but I feel the adjustment will be easy for me. I’ll adjust my style of play and adapt to it pretty quick,” Dorsey stated at Maccabi’s Media Day.
“When I was growing up, I watched a lot of guards and guard play is so important, there never is a night off.”
There certainly won’t be for Dorsey as he will be put under the microscope over the next 30 days as Mr. March will need to be Mr. November for Maccabi if he along with the team want to take their game to the upper echelons of the continent.
A) It was no surprise to see Othello Hunter registered for the Classico after speaking with him following the win over Valencia, “If coach tries to not play me, it’s not happening.” Hunter also didn’t play in the Winner Cup title game and he is certainly looking forward to facing the Reds.
B) Hapoel Jerusalem is 8-0 so far this young season and will look to win their 9th game in a row but Coach Katash says he isn’t thinking about it too much, “Having a perfect record isn’t that significant and we aren’t thinking about it. We are happy with how we have begun our season but we will be having many upcoming tests and the biggest one is the next game.” Captain Bar Timor also chimed in about the streak, “This is the second Classico of the season but we are preparing for the game with the knowledge as to how important the game is for our fans. A win won’t be a statement and of course we don’t want the streak to end.”
C) Finally, Trent Lockett spoke to the media Saturday night and it was interesting to see him near the lockerrooms in Yad Eliyahu after the Maccabi/Valencia game as he was there visiting some of his former teammates. WATCH: