1) Maccabi Tel Aviv BC held a press conference ahead of the new season. Head Coach Neven Spahjia spoke about the team and the changes that were made over the summer to strengthen the squad: “This is a continuation of the program that we started last year where we completely rebuilt the team. We changed 12 players which has never happened before in European basketball. With our core we took a step forward and we added players which was easier for us. I think their quality will give us the possibility that we will work harder, play better and take another step forward. It’s not just the names but it’s the chemistry with is most important. From what I saw I believe it will be good enough but we will need patience to put it all together.”
Pleasant surprises during preseason:
“We had 6 senior players plus Deni Avdija and it was the first time he played for the senior team and responded very well. There were so many things I saw that needs work and that will take time. We started to work together and we saw some good things in Athens including a good game against Fenerbahce without a number of players but we still have a way to go.”
3) Preseason Israel Basketball
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 86-77 Maccabi Tel Aviv
The defending champs get knocked out of the Winner Cup preseason tournament as Deshawn Stephens 19p, Cameron Long 17p, Marquis Wright 16p led the way for Rishon. Michael Roll 14p and Jeremy Pargo 10p were the high scorers for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
1) Rishon looked very good with quality play from Wright, Long and Stephens. Add Koulechov into the mix and they are dangerous, but still need some help off of the bench. They’ll be playing Hapoel Jerusalem on Tuesday night in what will be yet another early test for both teams.
2) Maccabi had plenty of work to do. As Head Coach Neven Spahija alluded to at Sunday’s press conference, they need time to put all of the pieces together and patience as well. He also said that Sunday was the first time the whole preseason that the entire team was able to practice together.
3) Not having to play two more games this week may be a blessing in disguise as the Yellow & Blue can prepare for their season opener on Sunday and Panathinaikos in Athens the following Thursday with many Euroleague road games on the horizon.
Hapoel Tel Aviv 94-76 Nahariya
Rafi Menco 16p, Dallas Moore 15p, Jonathan Holmes 15p/11r for Hapoel.
Bnei Herzliya 87-82 Hapoel Holon
Jeff Adrien 20p/10r, Michael Dixon 19p for Herzliya, DeQuan Jones 21p, Khalif Wyatt 19p for Holon.