Can Halperin succeed on the Jerusalem bench? Former coaches and players from Pianigiani and Dyson chime in

Nov 15, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem tips off at Bnei Herzliya on Monday night (20:30) in Israel Premier League action as interim head coach Yotam Halperin will look to continue his fine run on the bench for the Reds. Halperin replaced Oren Amiel a few weeks ago following Jerusalem’s Basketball Champions League defeat at STAL Ostrow and since taking over all he has done is win both against STAL this past week at home as well as in the domestic.

While Halperin has said on many occasions he is taking on this role with mixed feelings, he has done so thus far earning praises from the players as well as from his contemporaries from years past when he was still playing.

Halperin does have all of his coaching licenses and has the ability to lead the club on and off of the court but it’s still uncertain if he would want to continue or if management would want to bring in a permanent coach at this time.

Yotam Halperin – Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League


While various names have been mentioned, Halperin may be the ideal candidate for now and together with his assistants Donalds Kairys and Guni Israeli, perhaps, just perhaps the former Jerusalem captain will be successful in a role that really was a matter of circumstance.

To find out if Halperin does in fact have the wherewithal and the ability to take on this new task, The Sports Rabbi spoke to some Halperin’s former teammates and coaches about Jerusalem’s new bench boss.

Simone Pianigiani, Halperin’s coach during the 2016/17 championship campaign that also saw the team advance to the EuroCup semifinals saw up close that the former point guard had the right ingredients to be successful in a head coaching role.

Simone Pianigiani – Photo Credit: Do


“I can only say positives about Yotam’s chance to be a great coach as he is person with all of the qualities. He was a player with a very high basketball IQ, so he knows the game. He is an intelligent and good person and has the personality to credit his players. He was also positive with all of his teammates when he was a player.”

“He has to put his knowledge on the court whether it’s practice or schedule. He can be a great coach as he also has all of the in game qualities, knows how to teach and has leadership qualities. He is a very high level person and this is what is most important.”

E.J Rowland shared the back court with Halperin on many occasions back and 2015/16 and shared his thoughts as well. “That’s bigtime man. Yotam was a smart player that had a good feel for the game, so it’s not surprising that he’d be a good coach. He also had a long career and played at high level teams so the players should respect him and they should relate to each other well.”

Jerome Dyson – Photo Credit: Dov Halicman


Another player he shared the court with was Jerome Dyson for a pair of seasons between 2016-2018, “I didn’t know he stepped in to coach that’s GREAT! Great guy all around from teammate to father. My two years there with him was amazing. He was one of our vocal leaders that was always positive no matter the situation and I think that comes with experience that he brought to the team. So if he continues to coach I think he would do great. He was a big part of keeping our team together that second year after all the craziness happened. Yalla Hapoel!!!!!”

Big man Ronald Roberts was the recipient of some of Halperin’s assists over the course of the 2017/18 campaign also chimed in, “Hey, sure that’s cool that he’s the interim coach right now, that position definitely fits him. When I was playing with him, he was just the ultimate veteran teammate. Besides him being a great human being, he just had a lot of basketball experience and a lot of knowledge to share from playing in top leagues. He was an extension of the coach with his calm demeanor and his professionalism was one of the best I honestly seen in one of my teammates.”

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