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Maccabi Tel Aviv Media Day, Israel National Team Prepares for Scotland & Albania

Israel Sports Update for Monday October 8, 2018

1) Maccabi Tel Aviv BC held their annual Media Day to kickoff the 2018/19 season and The Sports Rabbi had the chance to speak to a number of new Yellow & Blue players, Tarik Black who played for the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, Johnny O’Bryant trade with the Hornets and Kendrick Ray who’s played in Europe over the last couple of seasons:

Tarik Black:
“I like Israel a lot. Tel Aviv has been very easy to get acclimated to as not to far off from America. It’s a real good city and my family’s also gotten acclimated to it to. So things are going well so far. There great food as well as great people here. “

Goals for the season ahead:
“I want to play basketball and enjoy the game. I honestly haven’t set any goals per se but I do know what I’m capable of and what the team is capable of as a whole, but I’m choosing to keep those to myself and see how things progress day by day and see what comes of it.”

Johnny O’Bryant:
“It’s been great at Maccabi Tel Aviv, it’s a world class club and asking nothing but respect. They’ve done a lot for me since I’ve been here. Fans are crazy and hitting me up on social media. It’s been great so far and I’m excited.”

Israel so far:
“Initially I had no idea what to expect and everyone I talked to before coming said I’d love and I do. It’s been cool. In regards to basketball, I’m still adjusting to some rule changes. There is a lot of talent and former NBA guys here so there’s a lot of good competition.”

Goals for the new season:
“I just wanted try to be the best player I can be and the best player to help this team.”

Kendrick Ray:
“It feels great to be a part of such a historic club and it’s a great feeling to be playing here. I want win some games and do what I have to do and play my role on the team by doing what the coach needs me to do. It’s been great here in Israel. I’m adapting to a new culture and it’s been great so far.”

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2) Israel Head Coach Andi Herzogheld a press conference ahead of his team’s matches in UEFA Nations League action at home against Scotland on Thursday in Haifa and Sunday in Beer Sheva versus Albania. “I’m not happy about the results of the first two matches. We have to keep working hard and play as we did in the first half against Albania because the second half wasn’t very good. Now we are playing at home and the expectations are that we should win. It won’t be simple against Scotland, but my players know how or take advantage of their opportunities. We just have to score.”

More on the contests:
“We can’t lose to Scotland and I’m optimistic that we will succeed if we use our quality to win. Then we play against Albania in Beer Sheva and if we win then we will move into first place. It won’t be easy but I believe in my team. We know where we made mistakes and what we need to improve.”

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Veteran striker Tomer Hemed also looked ahead to the two matches and spoke about battling for a place in the Starting XI, “On a personal level I’m in good shape since I’ve moved to QPR and I’m playing a lot. So I’m really happy to come to the National team ready to go. I’m also happy for Monas Dabbur as he’s having a great season. At the end of the day it’s the coach that has to make the decision and we’ll all do everything we can to help the team.”

More on the chances of qualifying for the Euro via the UEFA Nations League, “This is a great opportunity to advance to the tournament but unfortunately the first game didn’t give is a good result. We hav to keep pushing forward as it’s a long road ahead.”

3) Check out all of the Israel Basketball League recaps and highlights!