Baselines: Maccabi Euroleague, Cohen Conundrum, Costello Constellation

Nov 5, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Each week just as we head into Shabbat, The Sports Rabbi will bring you his finals thoughts on the Israeli league week that was, Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague along with the other Blue & White teams in Europe plus you can check out all of the other postgame articles below as well.

Jake Cohen – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

OPENER

Maccabi Tel Aviv have a problem and it’s one of those problems which is both good and bad. One one hand they have 15 Euroleague level players, on the other they can only dress 12 of them per game. Two of the players who have been outside looking in are Jake Cohen and Oz Blayzer who have been able to play in Israeli league games but can’t crack the continental squad.

Cohen, who is currently in his third stint with the Yellow & Blue returned to Israel this past summer after a season in Spain with Obradoiro. While he was an integral piece of Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s roster two years ago averaging about 13 minutes per game he has been wiped out this time around.

Below is an excerpt from the article which you can READ IN FULL BY CLICKING HERE.

For the 31-year old Cohen it’s not easy to sit back and want to be out there on the floor with his teammates what are always make or break Euroleague games. With that in mind, Cohen who scored 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists against Bnei Herzliya earlier in the week, will need to ratchet up his level of play in the Israeli league to prove to Sfairopoulos and his staff that he deserves to regain his place in continental ball.

“I’ve been in the situation many times before,” Cohen began. “It’s sort of the nature of beast here Maccabi with 15 players and that’s how it’s going to go sometimes. The only thing that you can control is how you respond to it.

“Are you going to put your head down and pout or keep working doing the things you do and do your routine and stay ready. Thankfully, my experience has taught me to stay ready and be patient. Hopefully Euroleague minutes will come.”

Matt Costello – Photo Credit: Euroleague

HALFTIME

Ahead of tonight’s Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleague game in Spain against Baskonia, The Sports Rabbi spoke with one of Baskonia’s new stars Matt Costello who joined the club over the summer. Costello was very forthcoming about his time that he spent in the NBA and below is an excerpt from the interview which you can READ IN FULL BY CLICKING HERE.

Following four years with the Spartans, it was off to the G-League for a couple of years with Iowa and Austin. In his second campaign as a pro, Costello was called up to play with the San Antonio Spurs after having signed a two-way contract in the summer of 2017 which was surreal he explained.

“It didn’t feel real the whole time. You always dream about playing on the NBA as a kid and I’m sitting on the bench and then check into the game, it’s like I’m from a small town and this is not supposed to happen. It was surreal. You try to focus on the basketball part when you’re there and remember the experience.”

Costello felt that if he had been a bit more focused on the ultimate goal when he was with the big team perhaps he could have stuck with the club.

“I kicked myself because at the time I was happy to just be there. Maybe I was young and dumb. I took it seriously with my same routine that I still have now, but mentally I wish I would have flipped over and showed that this is what I’m here for. Overseas it’s been able to help me as you have to come in with a killer mentality as there may be someone who wants to take your job and you’ve got to do everything to hold onto it. I wish I would have taken more of it seriously and would love to one day go back to play in front of family.”

FINAL BUZZER

Check out October’s Top 10 Plays from October Israel League Action!

LIKES & DISLIKES

I liked that Nes Ziona finally picked up their first win of the season over Hapoel Tel Aviv giving coach Lior Lubin some breathing room as they will now look to string together some wins when they play Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion on Saturday night.

I disliked Hapoel Tel Aviv’s performance as they lost to Nes Ziona and didn’t look good doing it either. After their win over Rishon the week before, the loss to NZ did the Reds no favors as they are just not coming together the way coach Danny Franco would like.

I liked how Jerusalem came out like a house on fire and gave interim head coach Yotam Halperin the win. Retin Obasohan was spectacular earning player of the week honors in the victory.

Retin Obasohan – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

I disliked how Hapoel Holon entered the matchup with Jerusalem as they played a very non-physical game and forgot to show up against a team with a new coach on the sidelines. On the flip side, I liked that Maurizio Buscaglia’s squad made sure to have his squad ready to go on Wednesday night for their Champions League game against Cluj and put the loss to Jerusalem earlier in the week way behind them.

I liked that Hapoel Gilboa Galil is looking like a very, very tough team to play. Guy Kaplan and his staff have put the pedal to the metal and have been able to continue to mold the squad and a win over Eilat was a good way to show that practice makes perfect.

I disliked that Eilat not only lost to Gilboa but blew a +20 point lead in FIBA Europe Cup action to Rilski Sportist putting their advancing to the next round at risk. Ariel Beit Halachmi must be pulling out the hair from his head after this debacle.

I liked how Maccabi Tel Aviv put the smackdown on Herzliya and just put the notion to bed that their “B” team as some call them could compete with the Yellow & Blue. That surely not the case.

I disliked that a game that was supposed to be a big matchup turned into a major dud as Maccabi demolished a massively overmatched Herzliya.

Bryce Washington – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

I liked how Hapoel Galil Elyon is now 3-1, yes the newly promoted team is 3-1 under head coach Barak Peleg. Life is good in Kfar Blum and one of those reasons is the fine play of Bryce Washington.

I disliked how Hapoel Haifa is just not finding their way as the Carmel Reds just don’t look good and Elad Hasin must be under serious pressure to get positive results as a 1-3 record is not what anyone envisioned for this team.

I liked how Rishon Le’Zion not only brought in Tu Holloway for TJ Williams, but despite 9 turnovers was able to pour in bucket over bucket over Beer Sheva.

I disliked how Beer Sheva had really no clue how to contain Rishon Le’Zion and their new recruit Tu Holloway. This will go down as a “bad” loss for Rami Hadar’s team.

QUOTES

“We have grit and while other teams are bigger than us, we have a lot of heart” – Michale Kyser after Holon outlasted Cluj

“The difference is that we believed” – Retin Obasohan following Jerusalem’s win over Holon

“It’s sort of the nature of beast here Maccabi with 15 players” – Jake Cohen about trying to break into Maccabi’s Euroleague lineup

3 STARS

DOV HALICKMAN’S FAVORITE PHOTO

Derrick Williams – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

ICYMI

You’ve Gotta Have Heart: Kyser & Holon get by tough Cluj with tantalizing rematch just two weeks away

Maccabi TLV continues to roll, Jerusalem stuns Holon, Galil Elyon with another win on Episode #240

Deni Avdija’s improved defense has been a subtle bright spot in the Wizards fast start

We believed: Obasohan, Bennett lead Halperin’s Jerusalem to inspiring one-sided win

Herzliya’s Chris Babb in conversation with The Sports Rabbi ahead of Maccabi Tel Aviv on Episode #239

Michale Kyser – Photo Credit: BCL

ON DECK

Maccabi Tel Aviv has a date with Baskonia on Friday night and then travel to Hapoel Holon on Monday night with an Israeli league clash which will be of much interest to many a basketball fan around the country. Interestingly enough Maccabi forward Angelo Caloiaro was at Holon’s Champions League game against Cluj as he was watching one of his former teammates Anrij Stipanovic in action.

Also on the docket is a mega game between Hapoel Jerusalem and STAL Ostrow on Wednesday in what could very well be the Reds last chance in trying to have any sort of chance in advancing in the next round of the competition.

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