Maccabi Tel Aviv held their 2020 Israel Winner League and Euroleague season opening press conference at their Hall of Fame located at the Yad Eliyahu Arena as the team continued preparing for the upcoming campaign.
Club chairman Shimon Mizrahi along with team manager Nikola Vujcic and head coach Ioannis Sfairpoulos addressed the media about the new season on the horizon.
Head coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos spoke about his new roster and how it was constructed during the offseason: “I’m very happy and satisfied with the players that are here. We believe in the players qualities, skills and character and we tried to bring the combination of this criteria when we built the team. We feel hat we kept the family atmosphere here in the lockerroom and one that will fight every game.”
The coach also addressed the question of the Israelis role in the squad including potential 2020 NBA Draft Lottery Pick Deni Avdija and Yovel Zoosman: “I think that last year everyone understood that I wanted to build a core of Israeli players and that is what we will continue to do now. It’s not a secret that I value all of the players the exact same way and that they are all part of one squad. If players practice well, then they will get minutes on the court.”
Sfairpoulos commuted about the opening Euroleague matchups: “The schedule starts with two away games against Khimki who increased their budget and Real Madrid. We have to be ready to compete and be ready to win the games; that’s what we do here at Maccabi. We will play as best as we can and try to meet our goals by the end of the season.”
The coach ended his session with the press by stating in fluent Hebrew that, “We want to win all of our games.”
Chairman Shimon Mizrahi spoke about the Yellow & Blue’s goals for the upcoming season: “The first priority is the league championship and Cup which is our bread and butter. After that it’s to be in the Top 8 in the Euroleague and from there the skies the limit.”
Team manager Nikola Vujcic reflected on the Olympiacos situation while also discussing Maccabi’s unique plans for the season ahead: “All of the teams in Europe are watching what Olympiacos is doing by playing an “A” team in the Euroleague and a “B” team in the domestic league as there are now so many games. Coach Sfairpoulos is trying something new and it’s revolutionary by having a larger squad. That’s in response to how the team has been playing the same system over the past seasons. Our goal is to play every game to try to win.”
Maccabi forward Jake Cohen talked about the EPA, the Euroleague Players Association and the accomplishments they have achieved to date: “I think what the EPA is doing is really important in regards to protecting players and speaking in a unified voice to say how we feel together because as individuals we are vulnerable. There’s no restriction to when a team can start training camp and some teams took advantage of that and they began very early. We want to protect the players and their bodies.”