Tha Magnificent Su makes his mark for Jerusalem at family reunion in Tel Aviv

Dec 14, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

I’m never one big on bringing back former employees. It doesn’t matter what jobs they had done under my watch, but as a general rule of thumb having ex’s return never ends up going that well. However, there are always exceptions to every rule and that definitely applies to Hapoel Jerusalem’s Suleiman Braimoh, a player who never, ever should have been allowed to leave. In his second game back, Braimoh made his mark in what was a family reunion of sorts

The Israeli basketball world knows exactly how important a person and player “Tha Magnificent Su” is off the court and in Jerusalem’s 87-75 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv and he once again made sure to remind us all how crucial he is on it as well. Not that anyone ever doubted that very fact.

Su Braimoh – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il


Over the summer, Oren Amiel, the head coach at the time wanted to a clean slate to work with and looked to purge pretty much the entire roster. There had been serious debate whether Braimoh should have been extended or not but ultimately the decision was made to let him go and off the forward went and signed with the 2x defending Champions League titlists San Pablo Burgos.

Amiel’s prize for sending Briamoh on his way? Thon Maker and Anthonny Bennett, the former was just released after barely playing and making any sort of impact while the latter is also on his way out of Jerusalem having only played roughly 5 minutes in each of the past two contests.

I’m sure if Amiel could go back in time he would have kept Braimoh along with sending him chocolates and flowers.

Su Braimoh – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il


Braimoh began the game with a pair of triples against a number of his former teammates in J’Covan Brown and Idan Zalmanson while Bar Timor was watching from the bench. The Nigerian born big man then moved and grooved inside, cleaning up missed shots and outwitting his opponents to end the night with 21 points and 8 rebounds.

“We all know Su what he can give to this team,” interim head coach Yotam Halperin said. “He still has to get into shape as he didn’t play a lot in Spain but he is very dominant in our league.”

For Jalen Adams, Braimoh’s presence in the paint was critical with 5 offensive boards to go along with a +/- of +24 and an efficiency rating of 25, “He was huge and he is the energy guy and leader. He shot the ball today, snatched offensive rebounds and kept the ball for us.”

Adams himself wasn’t too bad either with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists to go along with a 31 efficiency rating as he took the ball and did what he pleased, gliding to the basket and hitting his shots one after the next.

Jalen Adams – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il


“It was a tough game and we found a way to win,” the spirited guard said. “Offensively we had trouble but we found away to win. We’re still building and it’s kind of still early. We’re still trying to find our strengths and weaknesses.”

Halperin’s first comments about the game itself were not so much as too how tough the game was but as to how disappointed he was in the team’s play despite having blown away his former coach Danny Franco’s team over the final 5:32 of the game where Jerusalem went from 73-71 down to go off on a 14-0 run. Braimoh, Sean Kilpatrick and Adam Ariel drilled home their shots and said goodbye.

“It was a bad game and we didn’t play the way we wanted to. I’m disappointed with the game but we found a way to win. We didn’t play good basketball,” Halperin said, but then also praised his team for their effort, “I have to give credit to the players and they did well as the game went down to the wire. Our depth was decisive in the game.”

The depth was certainly critical as Franco lamented about not having Bar Timor available and saw his team’s efforts fall apart right in front of him with no way to stop the snowball that barreled down the hills of Jerusalem.

Danny Franco – Photo Credit Dov Halickman


“They have a very deep team. We really missed having Bar Timor and J’Covan was just tired by the end of the game. Jerusalem’s depth and the fact that we were short-handed decided the game,” Franco said.

Josh Owens, who just returned to Israel spoke about the reasons Hapoel couldn’t notch the win from his point of view, “We had some defensive lapses late and they hit some open threes that we didn’t defend well. We were up but we had to execute defensively.”

As for the major reunion that saw so many players who either played with each other, this was something that worried Halperin prior to the game especially when it also came to facing his former coach as an equal on the sidelines.

“Danny Franco was an assistant coach when I was a player on the youth national teams and he has so much experience, I know him for over 20 years. Danny is a great coach and built a team with players who are familiar with the league at the highest of levels. That is why I was scared about this matchup.

Yotam Halperin – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il


“I’m happy for Yotam,” Franco stated when asked about seeing one of his former players on the sidelines. “It’s great that he has this opportunity. Barak Peleg, Lior Lubin, Guy Kaplan and Oren Aharoni, it’s nice to see. Jerusalem is playing with a lot of confidence under Yotam.”

And the confidence that he exudes is so true as Adams said as to why the team is playing much better under his tutelage, “It’s the confidence that the coach gives us and guess us more space to operate.”

Of course, the million dollar question is will Halperin stay on permanently and have that interim tag ripped off?

“There are many challenges on a day to day basis and it’s as close to being a player as you can get,” Halperin said. “You are there when you win or lose and there will be good times and tough times along the way.”

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