Mr. Jones, Madar leader, What’s up with Scottie & Franco’s challenge: 3-Pointers from Maccabi’s Derby win


Chris Jones once again came up big time for Maccabi Tel Aviv in league play and helped the Yellow & Blue to the 80-77 Derby win over Hapoel with terrific court vision, intelligent play and clutch shooting especially from the free throw line down the stretch going a perfect 8/8 from they charity stripe. All in all, Jones scored 26 points, dished out 5 assists and drew 10(!) fouls for a solid night at the office. Ioannis Sfairopoulos couldn’t have asked for better from the guard considering the funk that the team’s leader Scottie Wilbekin has been in the past couple of weeks. But it’s clear that Jones has finally earned the bench boss’s trust in domestic play as the floor general has been just that, a true leader on the floor. The Sports Rabbi has spoken about Jones in detail over the past month and the question is can the Texas native also come up big in Euroleague play as he has in the Israeli league. That question is still open but as he continues to flourish in the local league, success won’t be too far behind in Europe. “It felt great but most important is that we got the win,” Jones said. “In crunch time we got some big stops, we played like a team and I’m happy that we got the win.” The coach also complimented the game’s MVP, “I congratulated all the players and Chris Jones on how he had a great performance.” Jones’s teammate Oz Blayzer who came out to the press conference with his nose stuffed with cotton also spoke about how the guard was able to make sure he was ready to perform after being out of the roster for a couple of weeks in early February, “I think that’s part of his character and he never hung his head. He worked hard by himself and you can see how important he has been to the club running the floor and shooting the ball. We need everyone and as one day it’s one player and the next another.”

Yam Madar – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


Yam Madar is star in the making as the 47th overall draft pick by the Boston Celtics in this past year’s entry draft was all over the court for the Reds as he showed exactly how he’s been maturing as a player. 24 points and 6 assists for the sensation put Hapoel in front and almost led them to the win. But what was even more impressive than his on court performance was how he has continued to mature and be a leader off of the floor when he was at the podium for the post game press conference. “We can’t just look at the last 2-3 minutes as we had to play better in general and we can play better here in this arena and in this situation. We had to finish off the game much earlier.” Madar also spoke about the precarious situation his team is in with only 3 wins, “We have to understand where we are and what type of situation we are in. We have to take it game by game and one say at a time. That begins with tomorrow’s practice. The situation we are in isn’t where this club should be.” There’s plenty of work to do and as Madar noted that the players need to find balance and understand one another. There’s not much more the club can do at it has already switched coaches and changed players. However, as Madar who is the captain of the team continues to mature along with coach Danny Franco, Hapoel are in the right hands to try and get things rolling, but as they say time is of the essence.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman


One thing that is crystal clear is that Maccabi’s on court leader Scottie Wilbekin just isn’t himself and hasn’t been the same since the hand injury that he incurred a few weeks ago. While he is still able to pass the ball and dish out assists, his shooting is off and there is no hiding that despite scoring ten points with none coming in the second half. When Coach Sfairopoulos was asked about the guard’s situation he look at the fact that Wilbekin is human going through a rough patch and nothing more, “Scottie is a human being like everyone else and he’s trying. He’s shooting and passing but he is helpful to the team. Everyone has ups and downs and there are periods where he won’t be in his best shape. It’s a matter of time until he picks it up again.” Oz Blayzer commented on his teammate’s issues as well, “Scottie’s importance is crucial and it happens sometimes to players and when it’s a long season. It’s hard to keep the quality up. He will come back to himself as he is working hard and we all rely on him, we know how important he is to us.”

Danny Franco – Photo Credit Dov Halickman


Danny Franco came on board as the Hapoel Tel Aviv head coach last month when the club decided to part ways with Ioannis Kastritis after a tough spell of poor results. The veteran bench boss who led Hapoel Jerusalem to their first ever Israeli league title is more than familiar with Hapoel Tel Aviv having coached the team recently as well but the situation he came into is not one that his perfect and not by a long shot. With only 3 wins this season, the Reds are teetering on the relegation zone and that would be a shame should they find themselves in the Leumit League next season. But in order to avoid that, Franco has his work cut out for him. There have been so many injuries that the team has had a revolving door of players coming in and out, “We will know on the next few days if Justin Tillman who just signed with the team will be able to come back to play this season. We added some wrinkles to our plays and Reggie Upshaw just came back yesterday after being at home for 11 days (post COVID-19), we will have to handle what we have to and we don’t have any other choice. I understand the disappointment but we have to keep our heads up.”

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!