Nes Ziona and Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion tipoff in Israel State Cup action for the right to advance to the Final Four of the competition on Sunday at 18:00.
Nes Ziona has played terrific basketball of late after making a number of changes to the squad during the International break. One of the players that Brad Greenberg brought in was veteran center Jerome Meyinsse who has been all to stabilize the club both on and off of the court.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native attended the University of Virginia between 2006-2010 and then went pro playing primarily in Central and South America before finally making his first foray to the Holy Land.
Just ahead of his new team’s knockout game The Sports Rabbi spoke to Meyinsse about his career, what his goals are with Nes Ziona and the attributes he brings to the game.
“I have a lot of experience and this is my 11th season. Even though I haven’t played here I have the experience of having been a leader and I want to bring that leadership and energy to this team. It took me a few games to get comfortable and now that I am, the team believes in me and I believe in them, now we are getting some good results.”
Nes Ziona has now won four games in a row, three in the Israeli league and one in the State Cup. Meyinsse sheds some light as to why the squad has been doing so well the past few weeks and what he has done to impact the results, “It’s the little things that win games. Everything I do doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet but what’s important is to win. If I can help a teammate out, dive on the floor or talk to give the team energy I am willing to do it, whatever it takes. That energy is contagious and is far it’s been helping is win some games.”
Coach Greenberg spoke about how Meyinsse and fellow newcomer Braian Angola have helped changed the team for the good, “They are team guys and helped changed the temperament of our team to a smarter more precise and more talented team especially at the defensive end as they can guard. Israeli basketball is ball screen, ball screen, ball screen and if you can’t guard the ball screen then you’re going to have a lot of trouble and they give us the chance on a lot of possessions to guard. If you play defense then you have a chance to win.”
The bench boss also talked about what Meyinsse brings to the table and what type of personality Nes Ziona was able to acquire, “He’s a special guy and I’m not just talking about basketball. He carries himself in a special way and he’s got his routine to be prepared every single day for practice he’s studious, he wants to learn everything, not just basketball stuff. He knows basketball, he wants to learn about Israel, Hebrew and learn about the world.
“He’s a renaissance guy and uniquely different than a lot of players that choose to leave the United States and play overseas. Everything is an experience for him that he wants to grow from. He’s joy to coach. You’re lucky to run across guys like that and I’ve been lucky with a lot of good players. He’s right up there with the overall package that you want to sound two hors with every day.”
Meyinsse chuckled when he heard that coach Greenberg called him a “renaissance guy”, “I like to learn and I am in the process of learning Hebrew and I take that it all parts of life. Whether it’s basketball, my body and anything that I come in contact with. Right now it’s Hebrew and that’s probably why he called me a renaissance man. Hopefully in a couple of months I’ll be able to soak and do some interviews I’m Hebrew, that’s the goal.”
As for how far he feels Nes Ziona can go this season, Meynisse is here as a man on a mission, “The sky’s the limit I didn’t come here to lose. Everyday is a learning process and every time I step on the court I give 100% and try to win. Wherever that takes us, it takes us and that is definitely my focus.”