Hapoel Tel Aviv Intact Ready For Derby, Cobbins Haifa Saviour, Miles Leads Holon, Heidegger Herzliya Sparkplug + Agada Is Back

Hapoel Tel Aviv finally, finally looked like a team. It took a number of months, but all of Ioannis Kastritis’s were available (save for Talib Zanna who had surgery). He even had a problem as he had to sit one foreigner which was Jon Diebler, which was a good problem to have one that he wishes he had since the start of the season. Players were playing in their actual positions for a change and they were raring and ready to go explained one of the stars of the show Reggie Upshaw, “The last week and a half the practices were intense. We were killing each other in every practice every day. Last night after practice everyone knew today would be hard fought fist fight I think the way practice was all week prepared us for the game.”

Kastritis seemed more than thankful to having a full squad at his service which outplayed Hapoel Eilat, “This was something new. For the first time we had everyone available to play. We have a lot of players who can bring energy and good quality and this was finally a good game. The league is very competitive and we will need to remain humble, hungry and work hard.”

Reggie Upshaw – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Upshaw also referenced having the issue of players in their real places on the floor which is s key component to success of any club, “A lot of the guys were playing in their natural positions and we were able to create mismatches. When everyone is healthy it makes us a better team.” Kastritis went one step further by saying that it was super important they they had a center in place especially against Eilat’s big man in star Josh Nebo who has been lighting the league on fire.

The Reds will head into their second Derby of the month when they host Maccabi Tel Aviv in league play. Last Derby didn’t go too well for Hapoel as they were blown out in the State Cup competition, but this time Upshaw believes this will be a bit different, “I think we know what to expect and for the new guys we know the magnitude of the game. We have myself and JP Tokoto and the rest of the team. We will bring the fight.”

Ioannis Kastritis – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“It’s a derby. Simple.” said Kastritis. “We need to be ready mentally and physically. We will try to be much much better than in the previous derby.”

Good win for Maccabi Haifa this week knocking off one of their arch-nemesis’s Hapoel Gilboa Galil on the road as they picked up their second victory of the season thanks in large part to their new signing Michael Cobbins. It won’t be easy for the Greens to make a dent in the standings and they’ve got to take it one game at a time. The big man scored 24 points, grabbed 15 rebonds and drew 10(!) fouls in his debut. The Oklahoma State product played in the G-League last season and has also featured in Greece as well as Germany and Croatia. If his first game is any indication as to how well he’ll do, then it’s good news for Daniel Seoane’s squad.

Hapoel Holon didn’t let a minor hiccup at Hapoel Haifa let them down as Stefanos Dedas’s team came roaring back against Nahariya to notch a blowout win. With Maxim De Zeeuw resting due to a minute injury, Isaiah Miles went off for 31 points including 5 triples. Miles has been an interesting player for Holon, one who has kind of lurked in the background allowing De Zeeuw, Tyrus McGee, Chris Johnson and others to do the scoring but at Cholet Miles broke the game open in the 3rd quarter and against the northern squad he was magnificent from deep once again. Against Haifa, Miles played 26 minutes and didn’t score a point going 0/5, but he turned that around very, very quickly and just stroked those 3-pointers to help his team to the win.

Bnei Herzliya is back and better than ever. Sharon Drucker made a number of moves by bringing in guards Abdul Gaddy and Max Heidegger plus big men Terrell Parks and Elijah Thomas as well as Jared Cunningham. That’s some overhaul but one that has worked out just fine to date. Herzliya travelled down to the Red Sea city of Eilat, to play one of the best teams this season and they handled them nicely taking a 98-84 win. The first player to come over to Herzliya was Heidegger as he joined the team on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv. How did he do in Eilat? Not bad, just 19 points and 10 assists while going 4/8 from downtown. “I thought we played well tonight and fought hard to get a really important win for us. It was great for us to get back on the court. And personally I just want to help us win in whatever way I can but I’m glad to get the opportunity to show what I can do.”

Finally, it’s good to have Caleb Agada back at Hapoel Beer Sheva as he helped lift the southern reds to a 70-62 victory over Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion. Agada had been out for a couple of months and came back with a vengeance scoring 18 points. His timing may have been off somewhat due to the fact that he hadn’t played a real game in quite awhile but his energy and drive was all on display. Good to have you back Caleb.

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