Oh boy! I think I’ve run out of adjectives and superlatives to describe Caleb Agada and what he means to Hapoel Beer Sheva. This guy is just fine ball of dynamite on the court as he cab do whatever he pleases. Score, rebound, pass, you make it, he does it and Beer Sheva moved to 3-1 on the young season. Not to take anything away from the rest of the team whether its Eric Griffin or young gun Amit Suss who has been also showing what he can do for the southern Reds, Agada is a cut above the entire league right now. He can do whatever he pleases and no one can stop him. “It was a great win, great team effort. We worked very hard the last couple weeks, and we are exactly where we want to be. I give all the glory to God, and am ready to keep working!” How can you not like that attitude? Agada is just a winner any which way you look at it. To think that one of the ACB teams didn’t gobble him up when he was playing in the LEB Oro is just mind boggling. The Beer Sheva brass deserve a ton of credit of snagging Agada and brought him over at the end of last season.
Rishon Le’Zion looked like they were going to fall once again, this time to Bnei Herzliya, but Trey Lewis, Isaiah Taylor and Darryl Monroe pulled the game out of the fire to take the win. Taylor had a brutal first half and it looked as if Guy Goodes team was about to go down to the now 0-5 Sharon Drucker squad. But somehow Lewis and co. pulled it together. Lewis who spent some time in Germany and the G-League was a brilliant pickup after Sean Armand headed back to France when he found out Rishon wasn’t going to compete in the EuroCup. Boy were they lucky to find such a star. Lewis is putting up terrific numbers so far, 18.5p/3.3r/2.5a in four games while Taylor is chalking up 18.8p/2.8r/4.8a are making quote the impression on the league so far. Hopefully they’ll be able to keep the pace up.
Everyone around Hapoel Jerusalem was thrilled to have closed the deal that will allow Chris Kramer remain in Red for the balance of the season. It’s clear that Kramer brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and savvy to the capital and it’s also clear that he leaves it all on the court every time he’s out there. In four games so far this season Kramer has chalked up 15 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 30.5 minutes per contest. Add to the fact that he’s shooting 42.3% from 3 and 61.5% from 2 and you’ve got the total package. The 32 year old is one of Europe’s top sharpshooters but he’s also a true leader on the court for Katash the coach explained, “We’re very happy that Chris will be with us and we fell in love with him from the first minute he was here.” Tamir Blatt who signed with Alba Berlin in the offseason and was loaned to Jerusalem also remarked how he has been able to consult with Kramer, “First off he’s a great guy, a leader who has played at the highest of levels including the Euroleague. I have been getting advice from him since he’s arrived.” As for Kramer, he spoke about his role going forward, “My role on any team that I have been on is to do whatever I can to help the team win. This team I have to score a bit more than in the past but it is fun. I put in a lot of work this summer and that’s where the confidence in shooting the basketball comes from. We’re happy to be here with Hapoel right now and we will try to win as many games as we can and see what happens we have a lot of games left.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv captain John Dibartolomeo returned to action following a year away from the game after recovering from two separate injuries and he also looked mighty fine in the 15 minutes of play he chalked up against Hapoel Haifa. John D was able to bring a sense of confidence back to the court as he ran the point with professional floor generalship which hasn’t been seen in quite some time. The guard was able to organize the offense, hit his shot and played terrific defense as the team just looked so much better and once again CONFIDENT with him back. Dibartolomeo also spoke about being out of action for such a long time, “I missed it. It feels great to be back, I’ve been looking forward to this day and I’ve never been away from the game for this long. I’ve been thinking about it. I wish I could share this moment with the fans, but it’s great to be here again with the guys.” As for playing in the Euroleague on Thursday, Dibartolomeo was hopeful that he will have a place on the squad, “I hope so and I will come prepared. I will be prepared for everything and I hope I can help out. My job is to come ready whether it’s to play 5 minutes or being on the bench with the guys. I’ll contribute in anyway I can.”
Got to hand it to Maccabi Haifa for coming back from the dead and putting together almost a perfect game against Hapoel Tel Aviv after a brutal contest at Hapoel Jerusalem last week. The Greens were so, so brutal under coach Daniel Seoane at the Reds it was sad, but somehow they had the mental fortitude to pull it together and come away with an impressive win. One of the players who starred was Michael Brisker, on loan from you guessed it, Hapoel Tel Aviv. “We started the season poorly and it was important to win but now we have to continue with a lot of strength and energy. We aren’t losers, we’re winners and winners want to win. We’re not looking back but forward.” Coach Seoane also spoke about the win, “I believe that we were all embarrassed by what had happened in Jerusalem and as we were on our way home I could feel a change in energy. Usually on a bus ride after a loss like that it would be silent but instead we turned the page quickly.” If Haifa really turned the page and they can perform the way they did against Hapoel Tel Aviv then maybe, just maybe they’ll be headed in the right direction.
Hapoel Eilat just keeps rolling along as Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad went up to the Galilee and dropped the undefeated Hapoel Gilboa Galil. Not only did they beat them cleanly, no questions asked they did so in style with everybody contributing. Each one of the team’s foreign players are putting up numbers while the Israelis are doing the same. Ben Carter’s heading to the National Team, Zuf Ben Moshe is continuing to develop, Roi Huber is putting in solid minutes while the old time veteran Jonathan Skjoldebrand continues to score from both the inside and outside as a 37-year old. Eilat reminds one of the team Beit Halachmi used to build in Gilboa; exciting, positive, upbeat basketball. Let’s hope that this continues.