Basketball Is Simple – Zoosman makes a difference, Hunter is king in Maccabi’s win over Baskonia


Rocky Start Turns Zoos On

The game didn’t begin the way that Maccabi envisioned. Ante Zizic allowed Baskonia giant-man Youssoupha Fall to score as the shot clock expired. Then Zizic turned over the ball in the paint and committed a poor foul on Tadas Sedekersis. Zoosman then coughed up the ball as well as the visitors took a quick 6-0 lead. The same Zoosman who had received so much criticism recently looked to be headed towards another one of those nights that we’ve witnessed over the past couple of weeks. But then it happened. Zoos hit a triple and away he went to record his Euroleague season high with 11 points (3/4 from deep) in 24 minutes of play. As they say, it was just what the doctor ordered. In order for Maccabi to reach its goals they need to have everyone playing their best ball and that includes Zoosman. Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos spoke about not only Zoos’s key contribution but John Dibartolomeo with a pair of triples and airtight defense and Omri Casspi’s importance to the win which was truly a team win with every player scoring at least a point, “I’m very happy and I expect that the injured players had the handicap of not being around and tonight they performed really well. Scoring is great but I want them to play with high intensity and to support the team and make the extra pass. Sometimes the game will go to them but most importantly they need to help the team win the game. Smart fouls, rebounds, stop players on defense.”

Yovel Zoosman and Omri Casspi – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Lesson Time

Zoosman, who had been under heavy scrutiny of late didn’t let his critics sway him and got a lot off of his chest before the postgame press conference as he spoke from the heart with a statement to the youngsters, “Don’t listen, watch or read what they say about you, just be you. They can talk and say whatever they want, it really doesn’t matter. Just be yourselves. Keep working hard, physically, mentally and professionally in basketball. Everything will be fine at the end of the day.” The guard continued speaking about having the entire team involved in the game and when that happens, well, good things will happen, “I definitely enjoyed playing today and we played more as a team today. We had 20 assists today while in the Olympiacos game that went to overtime we only had 13. This gives us more of a chance to get everyone involved in the game.” Sfairopoulos agreed about having the team play as a complete team with everyone contributing to the win, “It was team big effort. Everyone needs to be ready and no matter how much you play you have to give maximum effort.” As for the game itself, Zoosman had this to say as to why Maccabi was victorious, “Whoever wants to win more will be victorious. Whoever takes the 50/50 balls will win and those who focus on the small details which is what we did today and we won.”

Othello Hunter – Photo Credit:

Big Man

How about the impact Othello Hunter makes on the game for the Yellow & Blue? Offensively and defensively, the center is crucial for Maccabi and leads the team on the floor by his intelligence, smart play and just plain old guile. He played his heart out against Olympiacos and lost, while today he did the same and won. One thing is for certain, Hunter lays it all out on the court and leaves every ounce of sweat on both sides of the parquet. The big man directs traffic on the defensive end while on the attack knows how to take a ball from any and every player to put down an alley-oop. He even hit shot close to the 3-point land as he was all over the place in the win. Coach Sfairopoulos explained what the secret to Hunter’s success is, “He’s playing with the same players for the second year and they play with each other easily whether it’s Scottie, Elijah, John or Zoos they know each other much better. Nothing goes by luck as we improve and get better and build the communication during the game. He knows me and I know him as well as the main group of players.” Elijah Bryant spoke about what type of presence Hunter brings to the table, “He’s very critical and he’s teaches us tricks and tips on defense and brings confidence to the other players on the floor.” And what did the center himself have to say about the game? “Tonight I’m just happy for everybody. We played hard. I’m just trying to take it one game at a time from this point on. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Elijah Bryant – Photo Credit:

They Said It
“Putting the emphasis on the right play and not hit the home run, but just get a single”Elijah Bryant, pro hoopster, Atlanta Braves fan

“If I’m free, I’ll shoot”Yovel Zoosman

“Sometimes the players stay to the side and they wait for the game to come to them. This is a mistake. You need to get into the game”Ioannis Sfairopoulos

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