I will always stand with Israel: Joe Ragland talks time in the Holy Land, BCL Final 4, Spanoulis

Apr 27, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Peristeri will play for third place in this year’s Basketball Champions League competition after falling to Tenerife 97-93 in the BCL semifinals, as they will tip off against Murcia who lost to Malaga 80-74 in the second semifinal.

However, all eyes will definitely be on star guard Joe Ragland who led Vasili’s Spanoulis’s Greek squad and was named to the BCL’s 1st Team. Ragland of course has a rich history in Israel having played for both Hapoel Eilat and then Hapoel Holon who he also helped guide to the BCL Final 4 two season’s ago while also having captured the Israeli league title that same season.

Just ahead of the 3rd place game, Ragland spoke to The Sports Rabbi’s Nate Dror about this past season with Peristeri, his feelings for Israel and more.

About the semifinal game against Tenerife:
Tenerife is a tough team, a lot of experience and it was like 5th or 6th time here, we fought hard and played a good game as a team but in the end they found a way to win with their experience. It hurts but it’s also a learning experience, its is what it is and we have to grow from that and put on a better performance on Sunday.

Did you feel that you could help Peristeri make it to the Final 4?
100%. That’s the reason why I came here. I understood my impact in the BCL and what I could do for a team and I understood Spanoulis as a player and the things I heard about him as a coach. The two conversations that I we had he said that this was the goal and I am talking about back in July and August when I signed. We are going to go to the BCL Final Four he said, and I said that’s why I am coming. I’m happy he was able to get the Coach of the Year award and I was named to the first team but we expected all of this. All four teams expected to be here and that is why you see what you have.

What is Spanoulis like as a coach?
He’s the same way. Approach and I said that being mourned his for 8-9 months you see why he was a great player because he never took a day off. He alway has an optimistic mindset. If you mess up he’s ready to move to the east thing. he is very positive and works hard. i can see him having success later on as a coach.,

Looking towards the Greek League playoffs:
It’s difficult but everybody has to play basketball and tie their shoes up like everybody else. We have a couple of weeks off after this game and then we play a tough Promitheas team and we will get to the playoffs with full steam.

How was it playing in Israel for Eilat and Holon?
It was beautiful. It was 3 years of ups and downs. Israel was a very special moment for me in my career because I needed to reset as I was going though injuries. I went to Eilat to detox my mind and detox my body and things from my past and dealing with injuries. Moving to Holon, everything took off from there, going to the BCL Final Four, winning a league championship and last year was one of best seasons for me. Israel is a very special place for me as is Holon and definitely one of my favorite teams and fan base and even util this day i receive love from the fans. It’s all love, I see them on Twitter or at the games in Greece. Hopefully we will meet again one day.

About the current situation in Israel:
it’s a tough time but everybody knows that tough times build character. That’s what makes Israel special as it’s the character of the people who are strong minded form the men, women and children. This rough epoxied will make everybody stronger. I will always stand with Israel because it’s one of my favorite places and it’s also a special place in my heart. Prayers up for everybody there and just come out stronger.

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