Maccabi Tel Aviv shocked the basketball world at 2:27am Israel time this morning as management let go Head Coach Erez Edelstein. Assistant coach Rami Hadar will take over for the time being as Maccabi’s main man after coaching Maccabi Haifa the past two seasons.
It was clear that Edelstein had been having some trouble since arriving at Yad Eliyahu. A loss to Hapoel Jerusalem in the Winner Cup preseason tournament final, coupled with a near loss is Nahariya to go along with a pair of Euroleague defeats didn’t bode well for the coach.
Speaking to the players in the lockerroom after Thursday’s loss to Real Madrid was a clear indicator of the seriousness of the problems. As Sonny Weems said: “We need to work on the defensive end and we have to get better at that. I’m not sure how but we need to get better.” Colton Iverson also voiced his thoughts about the team chemistry: “It’s got to happen now, really it had to have happened yesterday as we are already two games in.”
The red head coach also left his Israelis on the bench for the majority of the second half of the Madrid contest drawing their ire as they didn’t interview following the game.
Edelstein’s interview following the Milano match with Pini Gershon was odd to say the least as it looked and sounded more like the weekly Basketball Roundup show than a post game interview. And then the came last night when he spoke about his player selection and leaving Andrew Goudelock out of the squad: “Andrew Goudelock had been leading the team for the first three games so we looked for our DNA.”
That seemed to have been the last straw as ownership held a late night meeting with Edelstein and informed him that his services were no longer needed with the Yellow & Blue.
And yes there was a game that as played earlier in the evening where Maccabi Tel Aviv put the Euroleague loss to Real Madrid behind them as they took care of Hapoel Holon 81-72 at Yad Eliyahu. DJ Seely (18pts on 3/4 2-pt, 4/4 3-pt), Victor Rudd (15pts) and Sylven Landesberg (14pts) provided the offense while Colton Iverson pulled down 10 rebounds and chipped in with 7 points in the win. Darion Atkins tried valiantly to keel Holon in the game with 26 points while Shlomi Harush contributed 13 points in the loss.
Victor Rudd was the main man in the first quarter helping Maccabi to a 21-14 lead as he dropped 9pts for the Yellow & Blue. Sonny Weems may not have scored any points but he had his hand in 10 dishing out 5 assists. Colton Iverson also had strong showing scoring 5pts and pulling down 3 rebounds while Darion Atkins kept Holon in the game with 5pts and 4 boards.
In quarter number two Maccabi held serve keeping their seven point lead intact 44-37 as it was DJ Seely who shined for the hosts with 11pts coupled with energetic play by Joe Alexander who grabbed 4 rebounds kept the Yellow & Blue in the driver’s seat. Atkins added to his total with 11 more points to give him 16 at the half.
Maccabi increased their lead to 64-52 after 30 minutes as Yogev Ohayon picked up where the others left off scoring 4pts and handing out a pair of assists as Shlomi Harush tried to keep his team within striking distance scoring 7pts in the quarter.
Holon went on a terrific run to begin the 4th quarter cutting the Maccabi lead down to 66-61, but a 9-0 run by the Yellow & Blue thanks to Landesberg and Seely gave the hosts the cushion they needed to come away with a 81-72 win.
Player of the Game DJ Seely spoke to the press following the contest:
“We got off to a good start and the let off of the gas a bit and then came back again. We need to tweak it a bit both in Israel and Europe and we can go up from here. We’re ready. We have to make a couple of adjustments both offensively and defensively and play as hard as we can and do what the coach asks from us.”