My Way: Sinatra, Dzikic & Hapoel Jerusalem

May 12, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

As Hapoel Jerusalem prepares to tip-off against Tenerife in the first semifinals of the Basketball League Final Four in Malaga at 18:30 Israel time, the Reds will no doubt have a tall task at hand. Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad will look to oust not only the defending champions but arguably the best team in the competition with many stars that have played at the highest levels of the game of basketball.

Whether it’s point guard Marcelo Huertas, center Giorgio Shermadini, sharp shooter Sasa Salin or veteran forward Tim Abromaitis, senior bench boss Txus Vidorreta has plenty of weapons, quality and talent to overwhelm the capital city side.

Hapoel Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

However, when it comes to Jerusalem they’ve been able to overcome the trio of attributes listed above.

They have downed Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israel State Cup final as well as in domestic league play, they took apart the likes of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Holon as well while also winning their BCL group and then disposing of a tough AEK team to advance to the Final Four.

The key to their success?

The reds are a perfect reflection of their coach.

Each and every single one of the players on his roster has given up something for the good of the collective. They have sacrificed, they have become one. All for one and one for all. Just as the image that Dzikic portrays.

Zach Hankins – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Whether it has been Levi Randolph who was the BCL’s leading scorer last season and had to do other aspects on the floor, or Khadeen Carrington who had to buy into coming off the bench and not starting which had been something he had always done in the past, or Zach Hankins who returned from major surgery and has become an MVP candidate with his play on both sides of the floor everyone has sacrificed from the number 1 through number 12.

But that is what Dzikic is all about. Team, team, team. There’s no “I” in team and he made that very clear from the get go way back in the preseason when he got on some of his players really hard including Hankins who he had some talks with outside of the arena in Hadera way back in September. The Serbian maestro wanted to make sure his players were all on the same page and he wanted to set that tone early.

This was his team and the team was for going to be his, from day one. He constructed and he was going to coach it his way. No other way would suffice. The players had to buy and they all did.

Aleksandar Dzikic – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Quite amazingly, Jerusalem did not release one player all season long. Not one. And Dzikic made that clear from the get go that this was something that he did not like to do. We are on this together for better or for worse from day one until the end of the season. Where that will take us we shall see. But it was going to be a joint effort with Dzikic at the top of the pyramid.

This week we learned that Dzikic’s mother passed away just a day after the coach arriving in Spain. Obviously this was a crushing blow on a personal level and no one would ever, ever question what the bench boss would do if he would leave to be with his family or stay with his Jerusalem Mishpacha.

But it seemed that this was not a question for Dzikic as he attended Thursday’s press conference and will be on the sidelines on Friday evening. He’s all in which is something that should never, ever be taken for granted when one loses a loved one.

Aleksandar Dzikic and Or Cornelius – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Dzikic is the captain of the red ship and he’s this close from tasting European glory. The same is true for the franchise who will look to add their second continental title after capturing their first back in 2004.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dzkic has done things for A to Z his way and his way only. From the minute he took the position, this was his team and he was going to do things as the Frank Sinatra song says, My Way.

My Way.

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