“We’ll play together, for each other and with each other” Aleksandar Džikić introduced at Hapoel Jerusalem

Jun 22, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem introduced their brand new head coach Aleksandar Džikić at a festive press conference held at the Arena. The Reds owner Eyal Homsky spoke passionately about the Serbian tactician and his hopes for the upcoming season as management begins to build the roster for the 2022/23 campaign.

“We have a coach at the highest level of Europe. We dreamed for a very long time that he would be the coach of Hapoel Jerusalem. My headline for Hapoel Jerusalem is that we have to be better in all aspects. In terms of professionalism I believe that Aleksandar will help us improve not only on the court but as an entire organization with his many years of experience including the NBA. I look at Hapoel Jerusalem as a business and everything has to be professional.”

Homsky who is known to be a colorful character at the club’s games is aware that he may now have some competition in that category, “I think that there may be someone a bit crazier than me and I’m happy about that, so I feel that it’s the DNA that Hapoel Jerusalem needs as we are a club with heart and soul. I’m very happy that Yotam will continue with the team and he recommended that Alek would be here with us.”

Eyal Homsky – Photo Credit: Sports Rabbi

“I’m expecting more fans and that the city of Jerusalem will continue to support us. Guy is working day and night as he is racing after players and soon enough you will hear who they are. I don’t want to look back into the past but if they didn’t succeed it isn’t because of them but because of us. We have to give the coach the tools to succeed and we have to do things better.”

Following Homsky, Džikić made an opening statement and then took questions from the assembled press, “I’m happy and excited to be a part of a club with an important history in Israeli and European basketball and I’m happy that I’ll be around people that are very ambitious. I’ve been here before so I know the fans and now we want to go forward which is our goal.”

The new bench boss also spoke about the challenges of building a new roster, “We want a responsible team and we are building a new team so today I can’t be clear about deeper insights or details. But we want guys that will play to win and play for each other. It’s easier to say it and harder to do it. We may promote some Israeli players and we will see how it goes.”

“If we can keep some of the guys that will help the team we will do it, but sometimes market dictates direction where you want to go. I’ll play with any type of a guard and it doesn’t matter from what country they are from but players with good personality and those who will try to achieve our goals.”

Su Braimoh – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Two players who Jerusalem would like to potentially keep are Suleiman Braimoh and Jalen Adams but due to the player market, contracts have increased and coming to an agreement will be something that needs to be right for both sides, “It’s not just us that will decide which players will be here, we all like Su and he’s a great player but can we pay him. Right now he has some good overseas offers. Sometimes it’s a two way street and we will have to come together and make a deal. We will try to meet but we don’t know if we will be successful. Those players are very good and maybe their value is going up a lot.”

Džikić is happy about the fact that there is only one person at the top of ownership, “We are analyzing the players that were here and we want to see. The club is managed by ambitious people and I like that there is only one guy at the top. I think that as a club it has very good logistics and a very clear understanding on roles and that is a very good foundation.”

The coach continued, “Sometimes changing the roster completely is not a good thing and in Israel you have to have a certain amount of domestic players. Right now we have see what local players we can afford and then a mutual agreement as to how to begin the club which my belief is the point guard. Those players have to play together but the question is can they play together, for each other and with each other.”

Aleksandar Džikić – Photo Credit: Sports Rabbi

“Some types of players that you can’t come here you have to go outside and convince them to come, but every other club in Europe is trying to do the same. Every club has high goals at the start and that’s the nature of sports, competition. That’s part of the package.”

Džikić also spoke about his colorful side, “If craziness means we want to win I really want to win and we will fight every game. We will try to do our best to please the fans. I’m not sure about the level of craziness, I am a straight in your face kind of guy.”

The bench boss discussed how he sees his staff as well as the the start of the season, “I will try to being some people who I know how to work with and know how they work with me which isn’t the easiest things. Every team will have issues at the start of the season as there national team and FIBA window which creates questions that will need answers. I’m assisting on 2+ Israeli coaches on my staff and two of mine to speed up the process at the start of the season. I’m a pretty demanding person and it’s not easy to work with me.”

Finally, Džikić spoke about how Yotam Halperin being part of the management team is an advantage that will help the club, “I’m not going to waste our time explaining how important it is that Yotam Halperin is here and everyone understands that, he’s a legend and he’s in love with the club and understands everything from outside and inside and vice-versa. So from him being here it’s a good thing.”

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