“It’s a bit embarrassing for me to be compared to Saras” Halperin and Jerusalem ready for Hapoel Tel Aviv test

Mar 9, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem returns to the hardwood on Thursday (21:15) when they tip-off against Hapoel Tel Aviv at the Arena after having defeated Bnei Herzliya on Monday by the score of 89-88. The last time Jerusalem and Tel Aviv met was back a little over a month ago when Danny Franco’s squad disposed of Yotam Halperin’s team in the State Cup quarterfinals in a game that saw the hosts form Tel Aviv dominated for the majority of the matchup.

Earlier in the season Jerusalem did drop Hapoel in league play but since then both teams have not only made some changes but have also improved which will set up for a terrific battle in the capital city.

Retin Obasohan – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

One consistency that Jerusalem has had is their ever present and always smiling Retin Obasohan who knows that not only does his team need to work on a few things that went awry last game.
“Last game there were defensive coverages which we missed, defensive assignments that we blew. We want to play better basketball and play all together and get everyone involved.”

Coach Halperin also spoke about what his team needs to buckle down on, “We haven’t stopped working and we have a very short time between games. There were things that weren’t good enough against Herzliya. I am happy that we won but like I said if you give up 88 points at home you will have a tough time winning.”

Obasohan isn’t looking in the rear view mirror as to the last time the two squads took to the court and focused on what the Reds have been doing since, “Every game is its own beast,” Obasohan said. “For us it’s focusing on ourselves and the team that we are today is much better than we were in the past. We want to continue improving on that and when we play we have to bring our best. We have been committed to working and watching film. Guys have been working hard over the FIBA break and even before. I like the space that we are in but at the same time there are a lot of games that need to be played.”

Yotam Halperin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“I believe that we lost that game after the first quarter which had been decent,” Halperin said. “We just lost our focus after that and Hapoel Tel Aviv is a team that you can’t do that with when they have players like J’Covan Brown, JP Tokoto and James Young as well as their very experienced Israelis. There are no easy games in this league.”

The fans will play an important part for Jerusalem in this game as they always do Obasohan said, “Our fans have been amazing all season and I have said it multiple times. Playing in our arena has been special. Against Herzliya it was loud and electric and we are looking forward to having an even more packed gym on Thursday.”

As for Halperin, he has now been in a coaching role for a good number of months and he expressed how he has changed as a bench boss over the course of that time.

“Coaching is a tough job, specific and there are times when you have 1,001 thoughts as to what you did well and what needed to be improved. I am enjoying it and it’s a challenge on a day to day basis. It’s fun to work on the court with a team that has a very good and pleasant character to work with.”

Retin Obasohan – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Obasohan also mentioned as to what he has seen in Halperin the coach from a number of months ago until today, “Absolutely. It’s impressed me as to how quickly he has grabbed the bike and taken off. It’s been cool to be on this journey with him and see him improve on all facets of coaching. He has been doing a really great job for us.”

At the Herzliya post game press conference, new recruit KC Rivers spoke about how Halperin who was once a point guard perhaps is following in the steps of another floor general great who has taken on coaching as a new profession in Šarūnas “Šaras” Jasikevičius.

“You got a former point guard looking at the floor as a coach. Once a player, always a player. he sees the game in the light of a coach but he sees the game also as a PG. When you have those visions you make adjustments and it takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s a stepping stone for him and it’s a learning curve for him just as well as for us. That’s how you start in this profession whether you are playing basketball or whether you are coaching it, you have to start somewhere.”

KC Rivers – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“It’s going to take time but so far he’s doing a good job, nothing is going to be perfect. But over time he will become more and more comfortable with the situation of being the head coach and you’ll see him take more of the reins and become better at this job. Look at Jasikevičius, it takes time and look at where he is now. I think Yotam is in a perfect position to be similar in that same way as an ex-player with that mindset.”

Halperin brushed off the thought of being mentioned in the same sentence as his former Maccabi Tel Aviv teammate.

“It’s a bit embarrassing for me to be compared to Saras. He did other things than me as a coach. A coach is a way of life and a journey. Just as you start off as an 18-year-old player you need time to get where you need to go. I’ve only been a coach here for three and a half months.”

Saras Jasikevicius – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

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