Israeli basketball clubs are in full off season mode as the teams across the Holy Land continue to tune up for the 2022/23 campaign with plenty of player signings as well as gearing up for European Play as groups in both the Basketball Champions League and EuroCup were drawn.
The BCL held their regular season group stage draw in which three Israeli teams will be taking part in. Hapoel Holon, Hapoel Jerusalem and Bnei Herzliya will all play in the 7th season of the competition that is run by FIBA and looks to be the strongest yet.
The regular season will be the same as last campaign with 8 groups of four teams where each will play one another both at home and on the road for a total of 6 games. At the end of the regular season, the top team in each group will advance to the Round of 16 group stage while the 2nd and 3rd place teams will play a best of 3 Play In tournament where groups will cross over to complete the second round groups.
Those groups will then play home and road games against each other with the top two teams advancing to the best of 3 quarterfinal series with the winners heading to the Final 4.Prior to the regular season group stage draw a qualification draw took place which will determine the final 4 teams that will join the 28 pre-determined clubs who have already advanced to the regular season group stage.
Hapoel Holon who not only won the Israel League Championship but also advanced to last year’s Final Four before falling to eventual champions Tenerife in the semifinals were drawn into Group C along with Galatasaray (Turkey) who finished in 3rd place domestically while advancing to the BCL Round of 16, Oostende (Belgium) the Belgian League champion and Legia Warsaw (Poland) who participated in the Europe Cup last season.
Hapoel Jerusalem were drawn into Group E along with Ludwigsburg (Germany) who finished in 3rd place in the BCL last season, Darussafaka (Turkey) who was a semifinalist in their domestic league while featuring in the BCL Round of 16 and a qualifier which will be determined at a later date.
Lastly, Bnei Herzliya were drawn into a very difficult Group H with Tenerife (Spain) last season’s BCL Champion, Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania) who won their domestic league and Peristeri (Greece) who have recently appointed legendary guard Vassilis Spanoulis as their head coach.The regular season will get underway in early October.
Each one of the three Israeli clubs are in the process of fine tuning their rosters with Aleksandar Džikić’s Hapoel Jerusalem needing to make the most changes after jettisoning the majority of last season’s team. So far the capital city Reds have signed Levi Randolph who arrives as the reigning BCL leading scorer after a solid season with Oostende in Belgium while point guard Speedy Smith also joins the club from Rytas Vilnius in Lithuania.
As for Israelis, 7”1 rising star center Gilad Levy also joins the teams after fine tuning his craft at Estudiantes in Spain over the past few seasons while Oz Blayzer also comes to Jerusalem after playing the last two campaigns with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
As for Guy Goodes’s Holon, their captain, 38-year old Guy Pnini departed the club and headed back to Maccabi Tel Aviv the team that he had captained to the 2014 Euroleague championship as well as forward Rafi Menco who also signed with the yellow-and-blue. In their place, Shawn Dawson who featured for Bnei Herzliya last year moved over to the purples while CJ Harris who starred for Holon two seasons ago returned to the club.
Herzliya under second year coach Oren Aharoni has been quiet thus far and have not made any additions to their roster after losing Dawson as well as league MVP Chinanu Onuaku who is looking to return to the NBA.
After a number of seasons without an Israeli representative in the EuroCup, Hapoel Tel Aviv decided to join the continent’s second best competition and will make their first foray into European hoops in quite some time.
The Reds were drawn as one of ten teams into Group B of the competition as each team will play one another both at home and on the road. The top 8 teams in the group will advance to the quaterfinals of the competition which will be a one game knock out format and the winners of that stage will move into the semifinals.
Gran Canaria (Spain), Buducnost (Montenegro), Trento (Italy), Turk Telekom (Turkey), Promitheas (Greece), Paris (France), Hamburg (Germany), Śląsk Wrocław (Poland) and London (England) will join Danny Franco’s squad in the group stage.
Hapoel’s big offseason move so far this summer was the signing of their former captain Tomer Ginat as the power forward returns to the Drive In Arena after playing two seasons abroad in France with Metropolitans.
Hapoel Galil Elyon will be playing in the group stages of the FIBA Europe Cup while Hapoel Haifa will attempt to advance to the regular season though the qualifying tournament.
Barak Peleg’s Galil Elyon team has made one significant signing so far this offseason by bringing in big man Abdul-Malik Abu while also keeping Nimrod Levi who had been rumored to head to Holon. The Carmel Reds under new head coach Sharon Drucker have been quite active so far as they have already inked guard Anthony Hickey, center Devonte Upson and forward Jalen Jones.