Scottie Wilbekin? NO! Adam Smith! The Holon guard has career night in win over Hapoel Tel Aviv as Coach Goodes makes comparison

Mar 29, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Adam Smith is hot, red hot… or shall we say, yellow and purple hot? It really doesn’t matter what type of hot he is but the Hapoel Holon guard certainly took the crowd’s pregame pyrotechnics to an absolutely other level with his play.

38 points, 9 triples and we can add 4 rebounds and 2 assists to his stat line in 33 minutes and you’ve got one heck of a performance.

It’s hard to believe that less than a week ago he carved up JDA Dijon for what was another masterful performance and as each game goes by the confidence oozes off of one cool, calm and collected cat.

After his Basketball Champions League show this past Wednesday in which #3 chalked up 29 points helping Guy Goodes’s team clinch first place in Round of 16 Group play which led to a date with Strasbourg in a best of 3 quarterfinal series in which Holon will have home court advantage he repeated the feet.

After the BCL game, this writer said to a few colleagues that the only other player that has the skill set and ability to play off the dribble in the Israeli league is Scottie Wilbekin. They looked at me in disbelief, however, that analysis was proven to be correct when Goodes compared Smith to the Maccabi Tel Aviv star.

Guy Goodes – Photo Credit: FIBA

“Slowly but surely Smith has developed,” Goodes said. “He has shown us some off the special things that he can do similar to Scottie Wilbekin. His jump, dribble, drive, great guard defending and he battles.”

Smith was like a one-armed bandit at a Las Vegas casino as the cash just kept pouring out like his sweet shot going through the bottom of the basket. Hapoel Tel Aviv had no answer for the Jonesboro, Georgia native, and not only didn’t they know how to stop him both coach Danny Franco and Idan Zalmanson didn’t even want to acknowledge how he simply burnt them time and time again.

“I don’t think we were able to stop anyone,” Franco began. “He made a lot of big baskets that we have seen already and he was able to take advantage of our one on one and close out defense and that also allowed other players the chance to score as well. We wouldn’t have been able to win this game regardless.”

Idan Zalmanson – Photo Credit:

Zalmanson was short and to the point, “I have experienced games like Smith’s, he played well but I don’t want to look at specific players. Holon is a good team.”

Having moved around to a number of clubs over the course of his career, Smith seems to be coming into his own with arguably the biggest team form all of the stops in his career.

“They welcomed me with open arms,” Smith said. “My family loves the city and there is a different feeling here. The organization is great and so are the fans. I’m happy here.”

Smith’s calm demeanor has played an important factor in the team as you never see him getting too high or too low, too happy or too upset. He is always at the same level whatever seems to be the situation.

Adam Smith – Photo Credit:

“Adam is a special player and there is something about him that he has peace of mind, he doesn’t get upset when he doesn’t dress. He doesn’t get upset over plays on the court and he’s very important to this team because of his mannerisms as he influences the other players.”

Holon is playing game after game in a very short period of time with already having travelled up to Galil Elyon on Saturday and getting spanked up north while they have another game on Thursday against Hapoel Jerusalem. It’s a tough schedule but one that has to managed properly in order for the club to make sure they get to game one of their BCL quarterfinal series next Wednesday in tip top shape.

“You can’t pick and choose which games you will decide to play and which ones you won’t,” Goodes exclaimed. “Galil was a road game and there were a lot of emotions after the BCL game against Dijon. I felt that it was going to be tough to get the guys into the game and Freddy (Bourdillon) was the only one that was really there. I gave some players a chance to rest and played others. We will rest up now and have another battle coming up on Thursday.”

Adam Smith – Photo Credit:

Smith, who was not dressed for the game in the Galilee was able to rest up a bit after his BCL showing and ahead of the Hapoel game which was helpful in splitting up time on the team and allowing him to come in fresh but didn’t necessarily feel that it was going to be his game.

“I didn’t feel it beforehand at all. We wanted to play hard and we came back after a loss. I have been in a good rhythm lately and we are getting Ws. We have a great chance to do something special here. We made the Top 8 in the BCL and we just want to continue.”

One of the key factors in the win was not only the on court play but also the off court action as the Holon supporters matched one of the best fan bases in the league in Hapoel Tel Aviv. The purple people eaters were in tune all game long and even Michale Kyser joined them in the stands after the game to bang the drums.

“The fans are our sixth man and Thursday is another big game,” Goodes noted.

Hapoel Holon fans – Photo Credit:

On the other side of the court, Franco felt awful for his fans who cheered the club on all game long to no avail, “We didn’t show up as we wanted to on both sides of the court. Holon came in after losing badly and they did what they needed to while we didn’t. I feel badly for the fans that came to support us. We will come into the game on Sunday in better shape.”

Hapoel better come into the final game of round two against Hapoel Galil Elyon in better shape or else they will need to play the bottom 6 for a chance to snag one of the final two playoff spots. If they win, Franco’s crew will be in the top 6 and guarantee a playoff berth, however, should Galil notch the victory, the newly promoted team will be the ones who get that slot.

There is no doubt that this is a huge game with a tremendous amount of consequences for either team but specifically for Hapoel Tel Aviv who are looking to take advantage of a good season in which they have defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv three times and went to the State Cup Finals.

James Young – Photo Credit:

“We respect Galil and both teams want to win,” Franco explained. Whoever will be better will win. We will do our utmost to win the game. We came prepared today but we just couldn’t execute. Hopefully we will play well next week.”

While Holon is playing good team ball, Goodes is still looking to improve the team and rotation that he is playing with one specific need in mind, “I’m not going to lie that we aren’t thinking about these things, but there isn’t anything yet. If we had an Israeli center that would solve many problems and we have to look ahead to the BCL playoffs, I am happy that Adam and other players are really getting into the swing of things because this is now money time.”

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