1) The Israel Basketball National Team held a press conference at Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv ahead of their game against Greece on Thursday. Head Coach Oded Katash spoke about the challenging contests ahead for the Blue & White while talking about the fact that Greece isn’t bringing with their strongest squad: “It’s true that the biggest names may not be coming for this game. But if anyone thinks that this is a weak side, then they don’t know them well enough. Greece is a very deep team and there are plenty of players that can make them a very good team. We also have players who are missing and it will be a tough game regardless. Let’s hope that things come together for us and we play well and perhaps do something really big.” Stay tuned to The Sports Rabbi Website & Twitter @thesportsrabbi for all of the latest news and views from the Israel National Basketball Team.
2) A tragedy occurred this past Saturday in Kosovo when a member of their National Basketball team Gazmend Sinani was killed in a car accident while three other players and their physio were injured. Sinani began his professional career at Fenerbahce and spent the end of last season with Leeds Force of the Britain Basketball League. The Head Coach of Kosovo happens to be Brad Greenberg who has coached in Israel numerous times most recently this past season with Maccabi Ashdod and also served as the Philadelphia 76ers GM. Greenberg told me this morning, “We are all mourning the loss of the player, Gazmend Sinani and have not trained the last few days. We may not play the games as we may not be able to field a team although we may have to add U20 players to have enough if FIBA requires us to play. We’re awaiting word from FIBA and if forced to play the games will most likely not be competitive as we will be minus 7 of our best 10 players.” A tough situation and an unfortunate one for a nation that is just starting to grow the game of basketball.
3) Hapoel Beer Sheva departed for Poland for their training camp and will play 3 friendlies as they prepare for their Champions League qualification tie against Flora Tallinn. The first leg will take place in Estonia on July 10th at 18:30 with the return leg a week later on July 17th in Israel at Toto-Turner Stadium, 20:00. The Southern side will face Polish side Korona Kielce on Wednesday, Lech Poznan on June 30th and Pogon Szczecin on July 3rd as warmups.
Quick Hits – Maccabi Tel Aviv FC played their first preseason game of the new campaign and drew 1:1 with Arka Gdynia…Hapoel Haifa continue to stay busy and sign defender Hen Delmoni who was with Beitar Jerusalem last season and midfielder Roie Shukrani from Hapoel Raanana…Leonard Owusu from Dreams FC in Ghana signed with Sc Ashdod…Beitar Jerusalem will depart for their training camp in Hungary on Tuesday…Maccabi Haifa opened up training camp over the weekend under Head Coach Fred Rutten…Menachem Koretzky who resigned as Hapoel Raanana’s Head Coach has changed his mind and is back as the boss…Israeli basketball player Egor Koulechov who played last season at Florida will be with the Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League team…