1) Maccabi Tel Aviv BC Head Coach Neven Spahija along with Captain John Dibartolomeo and new recruit Scottie Wilbekin spoke to the media at the end of Wednesday’s practice about the upcoming campaign and more.
Neven Spahija‘s first impressions: “My impressions over the first few practices is good. We have a core of players this year which makes things easier. Last year was difficult to recruit 12 new players while this year we knew what we needed specifically on the market.”
The issue of National Team practice beginning on Thursday:
“This is the most difficult preseason in my career. We will spend two week in Tel Aviv without 6 players and when they come back we will start to play the games. For me it’s terrible. To go into the season playing the games without practice is difficult. We will see the result of that.”
About Yovel Zoosman and Deni Avdija’s maturation over the summer:
“They aren’t the same story. Yovel (Zoosman) was with us last year and came from Raanana last season and it took one year for him to be a more mature player and to play basketball on another level. I expect from him and the while team one step forward and I really think he can do this. Deni (Avdija) will be with us for the first time. He’s way younger and I hope he will adjust as soon as possible. Both of them will get their chance to play.
Scottie Wilbekin spoke about what his former coach David Blatt told him about Maccabi: “Whenever he always talked about Maccabi and Israel you could tell how much admiration he had for the club, city, the fans and the history of Maccabi. I had a good view of Maccabi before I came here and since I’ve been here it’s lived up to it.”
John Dibartolomeo talked about what he has seen so far from Zoosman and Avdija and his expectations: “They had great summers and they have been putting in a lot of work. You can tell as to how they showed up and they are ready to go with more confidence. They will be ready to give us a good boost this year which is very exciting.”
2) Maccabi Tel Aviv FC will face Sarpsborg from Norway in the second leg of their Europa League Playoff Round tie on Thursday at the Netanya Stadium. After ending the first leg down 3:1 the Yellow & Blue will look to turn around their luck at home as a 2:0 win will see them through to the group stages of the competition. Head Coach Vladimir Ivic addressed the media, “It’s one of the important matches. The last one was important and the next match will be important. This is our life. The Europa League is a competition where we all know what our target is. We have worked hard the past month, we have played a lot of games and we are close to the group stages. We need to win tomorrow and play from the first minute to last minute focussed, strong, disciplined and put in our best performance to advance.”
3) Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 104-84. Bar Timor scored 18p, James Feldeine added 17p and Tamir Blatt chipped in with 14p for the Jerusalem Reds. Jamal Shuler dropped 17p, Jonathan Holmes scored 14p while Dallas Moore added 12p for Tel Aviv.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion beat Hapoel Beer Sheva 91-86 as Adam Ariel scored 16p, Itay Segev added 15p, Deshawn Stephens chipped in with 15p and Egor Koulechov dropped 14p in the win. Jordan Swing led all scorers with 23p, while Taylor Braun added 18p in the defeat.
Quick Hits – PF/C Terrell Miller has been released by Hapoel Eilat at his request for personal reasons…Israeli Abroad Monas Dabbur scores a brace for Red Bull Salzburg in a 2:2 draw against Red Star who advance to the Champions League Group Stages due to away goals…