Behind the scenes: How did Ron Zipper Israel’s U18 star find a place on the squad?

Aug 10, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Israel’s Ron Zipper became the darling of the Under-18 FIBA Challenger Tournament with his superb play and overall game coming out of absolutely nowheres to star for the Blue & White. Many want to know how the guard showed up on the scene and The Sports Rabbi has the exclusive behind the scenes story as to how Zipper made it onto the winning squad.

Everyone can now see what type of phenomenal shooter and player Ron Zipper is after having captured the Most Valuable Player award but little know the behind the scenes story as to how a young boy from Ashkelon in the periphery even received a chance to star for the country.

Ron Zipper and Pini Geshon – Photo Credit: FIBA

Before the COVID-19 pandemic there were attempts to have Zipper considered for the Under-18 team but nothing came of it, but thanks to former Israeli league player Amir Katz who is also a member of Zipper’s close family the opportunity was set into motion.

Following futile attempts by Zipper’s father who was unable convince anyone from the National Team program to look at a player from Sport Club Ashkelon, Katz personally spoke to coach Oren Aharoni who had played together in the Israeli league years ago. Katz explained that he didn’t ask Aharoni to do him a favor but to just take a look at Zipper and if he was ok then to give him a chance, if he wasn’t then there would be no harm done.

Oren Aharoni – Photo Credit: FIBA

Aharoni invited Zipper to come for a tryout and from there the eventual MVP earned his place all by himself and as they say, the rest is history. Katz appreciated Aharoni’s professionalism and the fact that it’s extremely rare to even consider and extend an invitation to a youth league player from the second division, to see if there is potential and to give them an opportunity. He also stated that Aharoni, who will be moving to the Israel Premier League this season from Maccabi Tel Aviv’s youth department, should be a coach that any young player would want to play for and work with down the road.

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