As most of the sports scene around the world is quiet, Israel has been super busy over the past week as both the basketball and soccer leagues ramped up operations as they look to resume their respective 2019/20 leagues over the next month.
With teams heading back to practice, new and old players are making their way back to Israel to finish off the campaign.
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s star guard Scottie Wilbekin will be returning to Israel and will look to pick up where he left off and will rejoin his teammates Amare Stoudemire, Deni Avdija, Yovel Zoosman, Jake Cohen, Angelo Caloairo and Sandy Cohen who all remained in the country since the coronavirus break.
Hapoel Jerusalem will have James Feldeine, Tashawn Thomas, Suleiman Braimoh, Emanuel Terry, John Holland and J’Covan Brown coming back from the United States and will get back to training with Tamir Blatt, Idan Zalmanson and coach Oded Katash.
Hapoel Beer Sheva’s captain Spencer Weisz has returned to Israel while the club also needed to sign a number of new players to take the place of those who didn’t come back. The new acquisitions include big man Joe Furstinger who played with GTK Gliwice where he averaged 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds, Ukrainian/Israeli Andriy Kulish who plied has trade in the Ukraine for KDPU and clocked in a double/double of 18.3 points and 10 rebounds.
Evan Bruinsma who played for Bayreuth in Germany and averaged 8.9 points and 4.6 rebounds while Weisz’s former Princeton teammate guard Amir Bell also comes abroad for a final push from the Kuala Lumpur Dragons where he averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 assist and 7 rebounds.
Hapoel Holon was also busy with a number of signings but none bigger than extending Greek coach Stefanos Dedas’s contract through the 2020/21 season. Jimmy Hall who played with Maccabi Hod Hasharon and averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds moved up a league, forward Shavon Coleman from Kangoeroes in Belgium and averaged 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds also joined the club.
Finally, guard Jermaine Love who featured for Kolossos Rodou and Scaligera Basket Verona as well as Desi Washington who played for Anadolu Basket in Turkey round out Dedas’s roster.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion kept their main core of American players intact as Darryl Monroe, D’Angelo Harrison and Alex Hamilton will all be back in Israel to complete the season while State Cup finalist Nahariya will have Dominic Waters and Diamon Simpson returning to the northern city.
JP Tokoto returns to Nes Ziona while Cameron Oliver also inked a contract with the club after playing in Australia with Cairns Taipans and averaged 17 points and 9.4 rebounds as did Rayvonte Rice who played earlier in the season with Hapoel Eilat. Up and coming Canadian guard Lindell Wigginton who played withe the Iowa Wolves was signed as well.
Shannon Shorter will join Hapoel Eilat from Greek squad PAOK where he averaged 16.9 points and has also played in Israel beforehand with Kfar Saba and Afula. Ben Carter who featured for second division Hapoel Afula where he scored 13 points and 7.2 rebounds a game and Jordan Caroline who played in the G-League with the Los Angeles Lakers farm team scored 11.6 points and added 5.5 rebounds will also head down south. Canadian guard Milton Doyle from the Iowa Wolves of the G-League will as well make his way to the Holy Land.
Hapoel Tel Aviv also extended their Greek coach’s contact until the end of the 2020/21 campaign as Ioannis Kastritis gets back scorers Sek Henry and Jordan Hamilton for the stretch run. In addition, center Talib Zanna comes over from Turkey after a pair of stints in Israel and Jordan Davis from Rasta Vechta also joins the Reds.
Maccabi Ashdod will have a new head coach as Amit Tamir will finish the season on the bench in place of Brad Greenberg while the club also signed veteran Israeli guard Paul Delaney from Ashkelon, Al’lonzo Coleman who had been playing with Hapoel Ramat Gan Givataim along with Israel Slam Dunk King from 2019 For-J Cox.
Hapoel Gilboa Galil inked guard Joe Thomasson who played in Poland with Stelmet Zielona Gora and Tim Coleman who comes over from Salon Vilpas in Finland while Michael Young returns for the balance of the 2019/20 campaign for Lior Lubin’s squad.