Yeshiva University continues to build on its 42 game win streak as they begin their new season

Nov 22, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

The Yeshiva University men’s basketball team, the Maccabees, have accumulated 42 straight wins over the course of the past three seasons. Yeshiva University is a Jewish College based in New York which has a mandatory dual curriculum of secular and Judaic studies. While they have never been known for their athletics, their recent performance in the past few seasons has made them one of the best teams in the Division Three Skyline Conference. DIII is composed of smaller, more academic schools that offer no athletic scholarships.

The Macs’ incredible winning streak began during the 2019-2020 season. After a disappointing season opener loss, they then went on to win the following 29 games. During the condensed 2020-2021 season, they won all of their seven games, and this season they have won their opening six games. 42 wins is the second longest winning streak by a DIII men’s basketball team. The record for DIII men’s basketball, which is 60 games, was set by the SUNY Potsdam in 1987.

The Macs made a name for themselves during the previous 2018-2019 season winning 17 straight, but lost in the conference championship, which represented the first time in history that the team made it to the NCAA DIII tournament. The Macs continued to prove themselves in the following 2019-2020 season as they won 29 straight games, 27 of them in the regular season with the last two coming in the NCAA tournament. Those two victories secured their berth in the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. Unfortunately their hot streak, and the tournament itself was put on hold as the Corona Virus spread, canceling games and stealing what could have been a historic season for the Macs.

Throughout the next season, in 2020-2021, Covid-19 was still present, making the season abnormal and short. Between restrictions and game cancelations, the Macs played a total of seven games, winning every single one and adding to their streak. The team was on a 36 game winning streak, but there was no NCAA DIII tournament that year to give the Macs an opportunity to capitalize on their potential. This year, with a normal schedule, the Macs look to make another push towards the NCAA tournament, and this time, win it all.

There are many different people that are responsible for the Macs recent success, one of them being Head Coach Elliot Steinmetz who assumed his role back in 2014. As a graduate of Yeshiva University, and former Macs player himself, Steinmetz came to the team with a unique perspective and implemented a new approach to win. Akiva Poppers, the Executive Producer at MacsLive commented that one of the reasons that makes the Macs virtually unbeatable is their purely motion style offense. He explained that their plays are not designed around the ball, and that their plays are created on the spot. This makes it very difficult for opposing teams to prepare and defend and there are very few teams who play this type of game.

Even though people were hesitant to give the head coaching responsibilities to him, Steinmetz has done everything possible to prove himself. Every season since his arrival, he has led the Macs to a winning season. In his second year as head coach, the Macs won their first playoff game since 2002. The success of the team resulted in Steinmetz being named Skyline conference coach of the year twice, in 2017, and in 2020. He was also awarded with the Division III Men’s Basketball coach of the year in 2020 and in 2021.

Another key member of the Maccabees is star player Ryan Turrell, a senior guard, who averaged 26 points per game last season and made 42% of his three point shots. His wide range skill set makes him one of the best players playing at a DIII school. Although very few DIII athletes make it to the major leagues, Turrell has already grabbed the attention of NBA scouts.

Turrell grew up in an Orthodox household in Los Angeles where he attended Valley Torah High School, and Emek Hebrew Academy for elementary and middle school. With the possibility of getting drafted in the coming 2022 NBA draft, Turrell could become NBA’s first Orthodox Jew. In an interview with ESPN, Turrell said, “I want to show kids like me that it could be done, I want to be a Jewish Sports Hero.”

Although the season has just begun, Turrell and the Maccabees have set expectations high as they attempt to take advantage of all the opportunities this season has to offer.

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