Resilient, infectious energy, competitor: Who are you Ramat Gan big man Justin Alston?

Sep 4, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Justin Alston recently joined Maccabi Ramat Gan for the upcoming 2023/24 season after having just completed a campaign in Lithuania. The 29-year old big man attended Boston University between 2012-2017 and averaged 12 points and 6.3 rebounds in his senior year.

Alston began his professional career in Germany and has also played in Estonia, Hungary and Portugal before joining Juventus in Lithuania for the 2022-23 season where he scored 12.6 points and grabbed 5.7 boards in 21 minutes of play.

Alston scored a game winner in exhibition action against Hapoel Tel Aviv and recorded a double-double to boot.

“I’m very excited to begin my 7th European season and make my debut in the Israeli league with Maccabi Ramat Gan,” Alston said after signing with the club. “I can’t wait to land in Israel and meet my new teammates while we begin preparing for the new season and get to know the city of Ramat Gan.”

“Alston is tall and very athletic,” head coach Shmulik Brenner said. “He has plenty of European experience and this will be the first time that he will play in Israel. He is very motivated and wants to reach our professional goal of making it to the playoffs.”

To learn more about Alston, The Sports Rabbi was in touch with some of his former teammates:

Boston University Teammates:
Maurice Watson: Justin is one of my best friends. A very solid player. Can shoot, defend, dribble. He’s a dog on the court. A great person off the court. A person who has gotten better every single time he steps on the court and an even better person to have in the locker room.

Kyle Foreman: I was lucky to play with Justin my first two years in college and he really taught me what it takes to play basketball at a high level. He’s a great leader and teammate on the court and even better person off the court. He’s a true competitor, someone who is always working to improve his game but is also willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win.

Trier Teammate Jermaine Bucknor: Justin was a great teammate with really good work ethic and great character. I’m very proud of him and the way that he has developed and grown his game over the last few years. When I played with him, he was more of a back to the basket scorer as well as a very dangerous lob threat and a high level rim protector. He’s been able to develop into a face up scorer and 3pt threat. He’s a great locker room guy who has contagious energy. When I think of a story about Justin, I think about a story of resilience! Watching the way he bounced back from his injury years ago was just incredible to see. Not everyone can do that. He came back a stronger and better player.

Parnu Teammates:
Saimon Sutt: He is a really team player, hustles a lot, plays great defense and in offense if you can find him with a good pass he will dunk it down. As a person fun, humble guy. Easy to get along with.

Norman Ruutsalu: Justin came to our team in the middle of the season and he fit in perfectly right away. Both on and off the court. The team embraced him very quickly. On the court he’s a very selfless player and is willing to do anything it takes for the team to win. He’s also very self aware of his skillset and how his skills benefit the team best. He never tried to do anything extra and always played the right way. If needed, he set screens and rebounded hard. If needed, he scored the ball to lead the team. Overall a very intelligent player that every coach would love to have on their team. Off the court he was a very cheerful and energetic person. He got along with everyone and I remember him always having a smile on his face and joking around. Every time there was some kind of unofficial team function he always participated and loved to experience new things. He was also very humble and treated everyone with respect.

H’enri Wade-Chatman: He’s a great talent and very efficient.

Madeira Teammates:
Arvydas Gydra: I played with Justin for like 2-3 months only. With no doubt I would say he is one of the most friendly and kind teammates I ever had in my career and I had a lot. Usually on a team you have two groups of teammates, locals or Europeans and Americans on another side. He was always a guy who tried to connect those two sides and make a better team chemistry. Never said no to a coffee before a practice or a beer after the game. We are still in touch and support each other. On the court he always tried to listen to me or other older guys, even though he was/is more skilled than any other guy. Yes, his talent is more offense oriented, can do pretty much everything on the floor. With his fadeaway shooting he kinda changed my old fashioned understanding of a good and bad shot haha! I’m sure he will be a great addition to his new team!

Bakari Copeland: I can say he is by far one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. Always professional, first one to the gym and last one to leave. Makes his teammates better, is as versatile as they come and is an even better person off the court as well. I would say he’s definitely a coach’s dream player.

Joao Gallina: You can notice in practice that Justin will be that type of player that is going to deliver in game time. Very hard-working player and a great teammate.

Oliveirense Teammates:
Shaquille Cleare: Great teammate, great person, hard worker. Great basketball player. Everyone there will love him. He’s perfect for any system or situation.

Nelson Jossias: Talking about Justin would have to make a book. He is an excellent person, hardworking, friend. As a player to say that he mattered too much with the success of his colleagues, for me he was one of the best players I was proud to share the same field. I wish you the best luck in the world and that the people who are next to him take advantage of his knowledge as a player.

Terrell Carter: My guy J is a hard worker positive and funny guy. Someone I loved to go win games with shows up everyday and encourages guys to get better. He will compete against any challenge and do what it takes to win every time.

Naturtex Teammates:
Tayler Persons: He is a great player, but even better person!! It was very nice to play and be around him while we played together in Hungary where we made history for our club and he was a huge part of that success!

Ivan Keller: Nice teammate. He can be dangerous from inside and outside on the court.

Jesse Hunt: Justin was a great teammate! Someone who can stretch the floor as a 4/5 player. He has an infectious energy about him as well which is one of the top things that I like about him. Justin is a great player but an even better person. He always stays positive and brings up his teammates!

Szilard Balogh: I played with him for one season. He is a great guy for sure, first thing comes to my mind that he’s funny as hell. Obviously a great basketball player and he can do everything on the court… we made club history that year finishing 2nd in the Hungaryan Cup. I was one of the youngest players in the team and we have a good relationship so he is the real deal.

Kristof Polanyi: Justin was a really great teammate and it was fun to play with him, although I could only play one season with him, but he was helpful and friendly both on and off the court. He had a big voice in the locker room and was one of our leaders that season.

Juventus Teammates:
Gintautas Matulis: He is a great person, very kind and friendly! Amazing teammate on the court and in the lockerroom!

Aleksa Nikolic: I think he’s a great guy, good basketball player. He’s a very hard working guy, I think he can still develop even more. I think he’s a really good signing for Maccabi and that he’ll do really good there.

Reggie Lynch: He’s a great guy, one of my favorite teammates! We complemented each other very well in Juventus. He’s a great scorer and rebounder and had some great dunks. Also hit some big 3s. Just a good player who can give you big plays when you want them!. Everyone gets along with him and likes him as a teammate.

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