I make winning plays and winning possessions for the team: Hapoel Jerusalem big man Maurice Ndour lands in Israel

Aug 17, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

The Israeli league players continue to land in the Holy Land as Maurice Ndour, Hapoel Jerusalem’s new big man landed on Thursday at Ben Gurion Airport. The Senegal native arrived to plenty of fanfare as fans came out to meet and greet the new Reds player which included one big surprise.

Ndour was certainly impressed by the fans that feted him as he walked into the arrivals hall, “It’s amazing, coming in here and seeing all of the fans cheering for me, it’s amazing already that I feel at home.”

As for why he chose to sign with Hapoel Jerusalem after having just been in China, Ndour said, “Great team, good basketball club, they made it all the way to the finals in the Champions League last season and they did well in the Israeli league. I wanted to come here an already established team and contribute with the experience that I have. It’s China and a short season league of 3 months so I had the option to leave and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to come here and back to Europe.”

The Ohio Bobcats product also explained what he is most excited about the Reds, “It’s a great club that returned most of their players from last year. It’s a great core group of guys that I’m about to join. The sky’s the limit right now. I spoke to coach Dzikic and he’s one of those coaches that I’d love to play for because of his honesty and his love for the players and the game. So I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

Ndour will reunite with Speedy Smith whom he played with at Rytas, “I’m definitely looking forward to playing with Speedy and that’s my guy. I think that we had great chemistry at Rytas and it’s only right that we bring the same energy and chemistry to here.”

Maurice Ndour – Photo Credit: The Sports Rabbi

As for what he brings to the table, Ndour no doubt has some terrific attributes, “I’m a a player that plays with a lot of energy, a lot of focus on the court, help my teammates defensively and offensively and just doing the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Making winning plays and winning possessions for the team.”

More about Maurice Ndour:

Maurice Ndour joined Hapoel Jerusalem for the 2023/24 season and was the last piece of the reds puzzle for the upcoming campaign. The 31-year old native of Senegal arrives in Israel’s capital city with a vast amount of playing experience and will be relied upon to play both the power forward and center positions for Aleksandar Dzikic.

Ndour began his college career attending Monroe College and then transferring to Ohio for his final two years where he averaged 16 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks as a senior. His first foray in Europe came when he played with Real Madrid as he made his professional debut in Spain. From there it was onto the New York Knicks as well as the G-League before heading to Rusia, Lithuania, Turkey, China and Japan where he played this past season for the Nagoya Diamond where he scored 10.6 points, grabbed 5.7 boards, dished out 2.1 assists and blocking 1.4 shots per game.

To learn more about Ndour, The Sports Rabbi was in touch with a number of his former teammates:

Real Madrid Teammate Trey Thompkins: Mo is like a brother to me. From the first day it felt like we already knew each other for years. Great teammate. Always positive.

G-League teammates:
Jaylen Bond: He was great teammate during the time we played together with the New York Knicks G-League team. He is a versatile player with a high basketball IQ. He is a great competitor as well as a hard worker and does whatever it takes to win.

Drew Crabtree: Mo is the ultimate competitor. He is willing to do whatever is asked of him to help the team win. His game has continued to evolve offensively being able to finish well around the rim and stretch the floor with his jumpshot, and he thrives in transition running the floor. Mo’s length and athleticism is uncommon for a guy of that size and he knows that outworking his opponents just comes down to drive and want to. While he’s a phenomenal basketball player, he’s an even better person. He’s never known a stranger and is always looking to build relationships with new people.

Von Wafer: He’s a great guy.

Kazan Teammates:
Melvin Ejim: Really versatile guy, can shoot, post up and handle the ball. Brings a lot to the team both offensively and defensively. Huge IQ. Can guard all 5 positions and knows how to win. As a person he’s extremely intelligent, very knowledgeable and a great team guy that’s able to use his many experiences to connect and bring people together. One of my favorite teammates and just a great person.

Anton Ponkrashov: Maurice Ndour is the best, we call him ‘The Mo’. Amazing guy, great athlete and teammate. We played together 2 years in Unics Kazan, me and him got crazy connection because probably he’s the most Alley-oop guy I ever played with. That season he scored probably 50 dunks, maybe more. One game it was more than 8 dunks. He’s a great piece and great guy, and I really wish he can help the team and show the same level that he was playing in Unics.

Valencia Teammate Jordan Loyd: The first thing about Maurice back from his Valencia days is that he’s a great guy, great teammate, he’s going to stand with his brothers on and off the court, he’s always positive and looking to better himself. He’s a true professional, takes the game really serious and works hard out there. He does all off the little things, he has a great mid-range, he’s athletic, active and vocal. He’s a dream teammate, I really miss playing with him. I’m pretty close with his family and everything so I’m happy that he signed with a club like Jerusalem and I know he’s going to do great there.

Rytas Teammates:
Vaidas Kariniauskas: Great guy, We won many games because of Ndour abilities on defense and offense. He is a team guy doing everything what a team needs. Off the court he is great guy, it doesn’t take a lot of time for him to adapt in another culture. Nice human being!!!

Arnas Adomavicius: I mean he was probably one of the most smartest guys on the basketball court that I’ve ever seen and the most important thing is that he is eager to share all his experience in a right way with all the younger guys or anybody that needs help. Also he is a true warrior and I could even tell inspiration at some point, cause I remember the time he came to our team was really bad time for us. We had lost some really important games in LKL, lost the opening game in FIBA Champions league and as soon as Mo came into the team everything has changed immediately and actually we won the national title at the end of the season. So overall I think that Maurice is not only really gifted and talented on the basketball court where he is of course unbelievable but also he has that special fire in him which can make all the team way much better and I think that this makes him very special player and person;)

Senegal Teammates:
Thierno Niang: I can honestly say he is a real good person before anything, he has a nice soul. About basketball he is a guy who loves what he is doing and is a hard working person he doesn’t cheat on the court and he always shows up ready to work and most importantly he is good teammate.

Hamady Ndiaye: Maurice is an amazing player on and off the court. Loved playing with him because he cared just as much about winning over anything else. Extremely hard worker as most African players but also very smart on his approach of the game. I’m sure he will bring a spark to the team as he does on every team, full of energy and life.

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