1) Israel plays Greece in a FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifier tomorrow night, Thursday at 19:30 in Tel Aviv. The Blue & White would like to ensure advancing to the second round by defeating Greece, however history is not on their side having not won in many, many years. Head Coach Oded Katash spoke about the task at hand, “We have a tough game ahead and I hope that we can get off to a good start. We feel that we can do it. There is good energy but the players have to get into the game well. Together with the fans we can do it as the home crowd will always be able to help.” Veteran Guy Pnini added, “If South Korea can defeat Germany that anything is possible in sports. We can beat Greece and I believe that here at home with the energy from the fans we can do some pretty good things. Of course we will have to play our best basketball because we are facing a very tough and strong opponent that everyone knows exactly how good they are.”
The 12 players selected for the game: Rich Howell, Gal Mekel, Bar Timor, Tamir Blatt, Raviv Limonad, Joaquin Szuchman, Rafi Menco, Guy Pnini, Ben Altit, Jake Cohen, Nimrod Levi, Avi Ben Chimol.
Check out photos from the today’s practice:
2) Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who plays for both Greece and Panathanaikos spoke exclusively to The Sports Rabbi about the upcoming game, “I think it’s really going to be a tough game and we have to be mentally ready for us to play our game. We have to maintain focus and execute. It’s a little bit tough for us as we only had a short time together with new guys and some didn’t play last game, so we will see.” About playing with his brother, NBA star Giannis in the future, “Of course, I am waiting for him to join me on the team.”
Check out the photos from today’s practice:
3) David Blatt will take over as head coach of one of the great Greek basketball teams Olympiacos after leaving Darüşşafaka where he was the main man for the past two seasons. Blatt had been looking to return to the NBA after having coached the Cleveland Cavaliers back between 2014-2016 taking the team to the 2015 NBA Finals where he fell to the Golden State Warriors. The American born Israeli coach will look to take Olympiacos back to the top of the Euroleague after not having won the continental championship since 2012-13. Blatt becomes the second Israeli to coach the Piraeus based club after Pini Gershon who was in charge between 2006-08.
Quick Hits – Michael Roll will continue with Maccabi Tel Aviv BC next season…Roie Huber signed with Hapoel Holon for 3 years…Hapoel Beer Sheva defeated Korona Kielce 1:0 on a first half goal by Dor Elo in the club’s first friendly of the preseason as they prepare for Champions League qualification…Maccabi Netanya held their first training session of the 2018/19 season on the Poleg Beach in south Netanya…Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa has renamed the northern stand in memory of Avi Ran z”l the Maccabi Haifa goalkeeper who died in a boating accident in the Kineret, the Sea of the Galilee in 1987…