Week of comebacks: From Dalton and Van Vliet to Harris and Huber

Jan 3, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

A number of players “came back” this week in one way or another to Israeli basketball. A pair returned to the court after injuries while another pair who were not producing the way both they and their clubs has been expecting them to also raised the level of their game to help their squads to victory.

Hapoel Galil Elyon guard Roi Huber came back from injury and while he didn’t score in the first half of his team’s 108-104 overtime win over Nes Ziona he certainly made his mark after halftime in the victory. Huber not only scored 23 points but also handed out 10 assists. Following the contest he spoke about getting back onto the court, “We have a lot of good guys on this team and they gave me a lot of confidence especially when my shots weren’t going in. I tried to play my game and I am happy that things came together. It was my first game since rehab and it took time to get back into the swing of things.”

Head coach Barak Peleg also spoke about Huber and what he brings to the team upon his return, “It’s great to have everyone available, especially Huber and we are really representing Israeli basketball. We are still looking for another import but I am thrilled to have Huber back. Hubie is a great guy and have a very social personality. The injury really hurt him but we didn’t bring in any other player when he was out. We struggled with it and waited for him to arrive. I shortened the rotation and I saw some lineups that I was even unfamiliar with. Nes Ziona is a tough team to scout because they have a lot of weapons.”

Another player who made his Israeli league debut this week was CJ Harris who had been injured after slipping on the floor in a Winner Cup game at Hadera way back in September. Holon got right back to work as well with a solid 92-77 win over Hapoel Beer Sheva as they now ready for a Basketball Champions League Play In Playoff to advance to the Round of 16.

“It feels amazing and a lot of hard work. I’m thankful that I can play again. I didn’t feel the best physically but I am also there, it’s still a process and there is more work to do. The goal is to keep getting better and stronger which is what we will do as a team and as individuals.”

As for a pair of players who came back in another form were both Andy Van Vliet for Bnei Herzliya and Hayden Dalton for Hapoel Holon.

Van Vliet had struggled mightily this season but in Herzliya’s 110-82 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv checked in with 24 points and you can read all about his return RIGHT HERE!

Hayden Dalton – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Hayden Dalton also impressed in the win over Beer Sheva with 25 points after not having had a chance to play in the Israeli league for some time. It was good to see the forward who has a nice stroke from the outside show what type of valuable player he can be for Guy Goodes’s team and as he said, it was great to get into a game while understanding just as he did in the playoffs last year that the key is just to be ready.

“It just feels good and I didn’t play in the last few games but I always stay ready when they need me to play, I am just happy that I can help my team. I know what kind of player I am as do the team and they can trust me to be ready. It’s hard to be ready no matter when and to stay positive. It was good rhythm game for us as we ready for Igokea on Wednesday.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv win a pair of Israeli league games this week in fine fashion. First they walloped Hapoel Eilat by 52 points and then they polished off Hapoel Haifa by 21 points. For the Yellow & Blue the positive is that they have made sure to be ready to go in the Israeli league game which in the past would be sometimes of a challenge against some of the weaker teams in the league. That seems to be no more as Oded Katash has his crew ready to roll no matter who they are playing.

However, on the downside is the sad state of affairs at Eilat who saw their head coach Ariel Beit Halachmi resign as assistant Valeri Gandlin had the task of guiding them in the disastrous defeat at Yad Eliyahu. Listening to the former player was just very depressing as this proud franchise is having trouble being able to compete.

Valeri Gandlin – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

“There wasn’t basketball here,” Gandlin said. “We played five minutes and that was it. I tried to change defense and offense. There was no energy and we spoke about that before the game. I don’t know what is in this team and there have to be a lot of thoughts. As for the players caring, that is a good question.”

Oded Katash who coached Eilat a number of years ago also spoke about the sad state of affairs down south, “Eilat went through some issues now and they had a very short rotation. I hope they will be able to get it together and it’s an important team for this league. Gilboa, Eilat both teams I’ve been with for a number of years and during these moments the strength of the club has to come forward to help them lift up their spirits. Eilat is a great place for basketball.”

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