Saturday, October 4, 2014

2014-2015 Israeli Super League Basketball preview

It's been a while since I last posted, but I couldn't let this occasion slip away. The Israeli Basketball Super League starts in a week and a half (at least when I started writing this post), so it's time to repeat last year's success and publish another review of all the foreign players that will be playing here this season, team by team, starting with the champions, Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • Devin Smith - The Virginia Cavaliers alum is starting his fourth season in yellow & blue, now having added last year's Euroleague title to his resume.
  • Jeremy Pargo - Back in Israel after a 3 year hiatus, having spent 2 seasons in the NBA (with Memphis, Cleveland and Philadelphia) and another one in CSKA Moscow, having won the VTB championship there.During his college years Pargo has played for Gonzaga, winning the WCC Player Of The Year award during his junior season in 2008, and reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 2005 and 2009
  • MarQuez Haynes - Joined Maccabi from Motepaschi Sienna. Previously has played in France, Spain and Germany as well. Split his college career between Boston College and Texas-Arlington, for whom he won the Southland Player Of The Year award during his senior season in 2010.
  • Brian Randle - I'll pretty much copy-paste what I wrote about him last season - An Israeli Super League veteran, having played previously for two seasons for Gilboa Galil (including a championship in 2010), another two seasons for Hapoel Jerusalem, half a season with Hapoel Tel Aviv, and another season last year with Maccabi Haifa, being elected the defensive player of the year. In his college career Randle has played for Illinois, reaching the NCAA finals in his sophmore year alongside Deron Williams, winning the Big Ten Tournament in the same year as well.
  • Nate Linhart - An Akron graduate, joining Maccabi after a season in Italy playing for Venezia.
  • Sofoklis Schortsanitis - There will be another copy-paste job here - Has played for Maccabi for three seasons, with a one season spell in Panathanaikos which ended in winning the Greek Championship in between. Has also 5 seasons in Olympiacos and a second round pick by the Clippers in his resume.Was a member of the 2006 Greece team that eliminated the American team in the World Championship semi finals and lost to Spain in the finals. 
  • Aleks Maric -  Already has 4 seasons of Euroleague experience with Partizan, Panathinaikos  and his team in the last season, Lokomotiv Kuban. Has several title in his resume - the 2011 Euroleague title with Panathinaikos, the 2013 Eurocup with Kuban, an Adriatic League title in 2010 with Partizan, and domestic titles in 2010 and 2011.Played for 4 years for Nebraska as well, between 2004-2008.
 Maccabi Haifa
  • Brody Angley - The Santa Clara graduate has played in Mexico, Switzerland and Poland before arriving in Israel.
  • Demontez Stitt - Has played for Hapoel Tel Aviv for two seasons (one in the National League and one in the Super League), now returns to Israel after a season in Belgium.Graduated from Clemson.
  • Jeff Allen - Has previously played in Israel for Hapoel Tel Aviv (10 games in 2012-2013, alongside Stitt) and Hapoel Afula in the National League. Also played for a season in France, after graduating from Virginia Tech.
  • Rene Rougeau - Arrives to Israel after having played in Mexico and Venezuela. In his college years Rougeau played for UNLV, including a 2007 Sweet Sixteen appearance .
  • Ike Ofoegbu - The SMU alum continues in Haifa for a second season.
  • Hector Hernandez - Like his teammates Angley and Rougeau, Hernandez has played most of his career playing in Mexico. Has represented his country at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, winning the gold medal. During his college years played for Fresno State.
Hapoel Jerusalem
  • Tony Gaffney - Has started his professional career in Israel, playing for Gilboa Galil in 2009 before being released after one game and an injury.Since then he played in Turkey, Germany and Spain.His college career split between Boston University and U-Mass, where he won the 2009 Atlantic-10 Defensive Player Of The Year award.
  • Derwin Kitchen - Returns to a second season in Jerusalem, having playing for Maccabi Rishon in 2012 as well.Reached the Sweet Sixteen with Florida State in 2011.
  • Joseph Jones - Like Gaffney, has previous experience with Gilboa Galil, having played a season for them in 2012.Also played in France, Spain and Puerto Rico.Graduated from Texas A&M.
  • Bracey Wright - A 2005 second round pick by Minnesota (26 games in 2 seasons, averaging 5 points per game), has joined Jerusalem in the middle of last season, and remains for another one. The former Indiana Hoosier has played all over Europe during his career - in Greece, Belgium, Spain, France, Croatia and Russia.
  • Donta Smith - Last season's MVP joins Jerusalem after 2 seasons in Haifa (including the championship in 2013).In addition to the Israeli title Smith has also won league championships in Australia (2009, final series MVP), Venezuela (2011, final series MVP) and Puerto Rico (2012, league MVP). Was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2004 Draft and played for them for two seasons (2.7 points per game in 61 games).
Hapoel Eilat
  • Khalif Wyatt - The second pro season for the Temple alum, after playing last season in China. During his time at Temple Wyatt was elected the Atlantic-10 Player Of The Year in 2013.
  • Sean Evans - A St. John's graduate, arrives in Israel after previously playing in South Korea and Germany
  • Kevin Palmer - Returns to Eilat for a second season.Played for two years for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, played in Greece and Japan since.
  • Dominic McGuire - The first season outside the US for the 6 year NBA veteran - a second round selection for the Washington Wizards, played for them for 2.5 years (including 57 starts in the second of them, in 2009), and spent the other 3.5 years of his NBA career playing for 6 different teams - Sacramento, Charlotte, Golden State, Toronto, New Orleans and Indiana. His total NBA numbers are 2.7 points per gams in 342 games.In his college career McGuire played for 2 years in California, and then transferred to Fresno State for his senior year.
Hapoel Tel Aviv
  • Yancy Gates - Moved from Eilat to Hapoel along with his coach Oded Katash. Played his college career at Cincinnati, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in his senior season in 2012, along with being selected Second Team All-Big East.
  • Durand Scott - Arrives to Israel for his second professional season after playing in Spain last year.Graduated from University of Miami, winning the ACC conference championship, the ACC tournament and reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 2013, along with winning the ACC Defensive Player Of The Year award in the same season.
  • Jeronne Maymon - The first pro season for the recently graduated Tennessee alum, after reaching the Sweet Sixteen in his senior season.
  • Rion Brown - Scott's teammate in Miami U in three of his 4 seasons, is another fresh graduate arriving to play for Hapoel. Was also a member of the 2013 Sweet Sixteen Miami Hurricanes team.
 Ironi Nes-Ziona
  • Lamayn Wilson - The 34 year old Troy University graduate has played all over the world before arriving in Israel - including France, Turkey, Italy, Czech Rebublic and Russia, among others.His main achievements include winning the Eurochallenge in 2013 with Krasnye Krylia, appearing in the Euroleague in 2009 with Nancy, and domestic championships in Ukraine in 2011 (with Budivelnyk) and the Czech Republic in 2012 (with Nymbruk).
  • Preston Knowles - The former Louisville Cardinal is returning for a second season in Nes Ziona.Has reached the Elite Eight with Louisville in 2009.
  • Tony Easley - Has played mostly in Italy since graduating from Murray State.
  • Craig Smith - It will be a second season in Israel for the six season NBA veteran (Three for Minnesota, two for the Clippers and one for Portland, averaging 7.6 ppg in 403 games, after a second round selection), after having played for Hapoel Jerusalem in 2013. During his college years Smith was twice selected First Team All-Big East playing for Boston College.
Hapoel Holon
  • Will Coleman -  Played for two years for the University Of Memphis as a junior college transfer, and has since played in France, Greece and split the last season between the Macedonian and the Montenegran league.
  • Tony Crocker - Having played in Hungary, Finland, Cyprus and Greece so far, Crocker is starting his 5th season in his 5th country since graduating from Oklahoma.Has reached the Elite Eight in his junior year in 2009 playing alongside Blake Griffin.
  • Jordan Taylor - Arrives in Israel after two seasons in Virtus Roma. Previous to that, Taylor had a successful college career with Wisconsin, reaching the Sweet Sixteen twice (2011 and 2012) and being selected  First Team All-Big East in 2011.
  • Laurence Bowers - Returns to his second season in yellow and purple, and his second pro season overall after graduating from Missouri, where he reached the Elite Eight in his freshman year in 2009.
Hapoel Gilboa Galil
  • Alex Young -  Arrives in Israel after two seasons in Italy (one in each of the upper two leagues).
  • Wayne Chism - Another player that moved around several leagues in Europe in his career. In his college years has played for Tennessee, and was selected First Team All-SEC in 2010 and SEC Freshman Of The Year in 2007. During three of those four years his team has made it to the Sweet Sixteen (2007, 2008, 2010), and in 2010 made it one step further, to the Elite Eight.
  • Kyndall Dykes - Another player that arrives in Israel after an unspectacular pro career, after a season in Romania and two seasons in Ukraine
  • Jeremiah Wilson - Played for Apollon Petras in Greece in the last season, which is pretty much the most interesting thing I can write about him
Maccabi Rishon LeZion
  • Jeremis Smith - Arrives in Europe for the first time in his career after having played in Mexico and South America so far.Previously played for Georgia Tech.
  • Jerry Smith - Played 5 games for the New Jersey Nets during the 2012 season (totalling 45 minutes and 7 points in those 5 games).In his college days played for Louisville, reaching the Elite Eight in 2009, alongside Nes Ziona's Preston Knowles (was a junior that year, while Knowles was a sophomore).
  • Larry O'Bannon - Played for Rishon for two years in 2008-2010, and now returns after playing in Argentina, France, Russia, and also had several month stints in Maccabi Haifa (2011) and Hapoel Eilat (2013).Also played his college career in Louisville, although in different years then Smith, and reached the Final Four in his senior year in 2005.
  • Jackie Carmichael - This will be his second pro season out of Illinois State, having played for Bilbao last year
Bnei Hertzeliya
  • Devon Collier - Rookie pro season for the fresh Oregon State graduate, other than a quick stint in Puerto Rico over the summer.
  • Magnum Rolle - Having split his college time between LSU and Louisiana Tech, Rolle was selected in the second round of the 2011 Draft by Oklahoma City. He was on the roster for Indiana and Atlanta, but never appeared in an official NBA game. Played professionally only in the D-League, Japan and Puerto Rico.
  • Devin Ebanks - Another former second round draft pick, was picked by the Lakers in 2010 after only two years in college (for West Virginia, after reaching the 2010 Final Four). Played for the Lakers for three seasons (a total of 63 games, starting in 15 of them) averaging 3.5 points per game.After playing last year in the D-League, it will be his first season outside the US.
  • Josh Selby - The third former second round pick playing for Hertzeliya this season. Was ranked by as the top recruit in the 2010 class, above Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes and Brandon Knight, among others.Also participated in the 2010 McDonald's All-American, on a team that also included Irving, Perry Jones, Kendall Marshall and Jared Sullinger, scoring 13 points.Chose to declare for the draft after only one year in Kansas (in which his team reached the Elite Eight), and was selected in the second round by Memphis.Played for the Grizzlies for a year and a half (a total of 38 games, averaging less than 8 minutes per game and 2.1 points) before getting traded to Cleveland, from where he was released without appearing in a game.Split the last season between Croatia and China - 3 games in each league.
Maccabi Ashdod
  • Darius Rice - Arrives to Europe for the first time at the age of 32, after having played in Asia and South America for the last 10 years since graduating from Miami.
  • Terrel Harris - Went undrafted in the 2009 draft after graduating from Oklahoma State, but was signed by Miami in the middle of the 2011-2012 season, and after playing in 22 games averaging 3.6 points was awarded with the championship ring that season.The following season he played another 7 games for Miami and 13 for New Orleans.
  • Edwin Ubiles - Another player with slight NBA experience, having played 4 games for the Washington Wizards in 2011-2012.
  • Ivan Aska - Played in Greece, Puerto Rico and Belgium in the last years.
Ironi Nahariya
  • Julian Mavunga - After graduating from Miami Ohio, Mavunga played in Italy and Ukraine before coming to Nahariya.
  • Nate Miller - Continues for a second season with Nahariya, after helping them win promotion from the National League last season. Has also previously played for Yoqneam Megido of the National League
  • J.R. Giddens - Was picked 30th by the Boston Celtics in the 2008 draft.Played for a season and a half in Boston and another half season for the Knicks, averaging 1.9 points per game in 38 games during those two seasons.In college Giddens has played for two year in Kansas, and then transferred for another two years in New Mexico, where he won the MWC Player Of The Year award in 2008.
  • John Williamson - Joins Nahariya from the Finnish league.Played for two seasons as a transfer in Cincinnati.

So there it is - 12 teams, 54 foreign players, not including Americans playing with Israeli citizenship, such as Zach Rosen, Jake Cohen or Jermaine Hall. I'll try to keep up with changes during the season, hopefully I'll be able to track everything, as changes are known to happen fast and in bunches.
Lets hope for a season of quality basketball!

Cheers till then.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another high profile player arrives in Israel

After cutting Dwayne Mitchell last week, Maccabi Rishon Lezion made a high profile replacement yesterday, adding Vander Blue to the roster. Blue has played for Marquette during the last three seasons, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in the first two, and leading the team to the Elite Eight last year while being selected Second Team All-Big East. He decided to skip his senior year and go pro, but went undrafted.

He's not the only newcomer - Barak Netanya added a fifth foreigner, Stan Okoye, the 2013 Big South Player Of The Year (playing for VMI), and Hapoel Jerusalem added Wisconsin graduate Mike Bruesewitz, that reached the Sweet Sixteen with the badgers in 2011 and 2012. Bruesewitz will be registered only for European competitions as of now.

The second cut of the season has come upon us as well, and this one doesn't surprise anyone - Maccabi Haifa released Sherwood Brown.Brown hasn't played in an official game for Haifa all season, and therefore will not be counted in the total of foreign players to have played in Israel this season, that currently stands on 52, including Okoye that already made his debut on Sunday, and including Devin Smith that has played only in Europe for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Blue and Bruesewitz will make it 54.

I will continue updating as often as I can, cheers till then, and Go Red Sox!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A few quick ones

  1. The World Series starts tomorrow.My prediction - Boston in 5, Mike Napoli is the Series MVP, Boston's bats destroy Michael Wacha.
  2. The end of the season couldn't have come sooner. I really feel overloaded with baseball this year.I hope my Red Sox wrap up this series fast.
  3. Two weeks of Israeli basketball have passed, and we already have the first foreigner cut - and unlike the rumors, it wasn't Sherwood Brown, but Maccabi Rishon's Dwayne Mitchell, who averaged 13 minutes and 2.5 per game in the first two weeks. His teammate Brian Hopkins is rumoured to be the next one to go.His replacement will be the 52nd foreign player to play in Israel this season. At least semi-officially, as Brown and Devin Smith still haven't played in the league so far, and Brown has yet to make an official appearance for Haifa.
  4. Wasn't this Monday's game between the Vikings and the Giants the NFL's equivalent of the stoppable force meeting the movable object? Think about it.
  5. College Hoops return soon. Can't wait.
Cheers till the next time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013-2014 Israeli Super League Basketball preview

Another season of the Israeli Super League starts this Sunday.Instead of actually reviewing the teams and their chances to win a meaningless title, I decided to review all the foreign players that will be playing in the league this season - one of them might turn up to be the next P.J. Tucker.I'll scroll team by team, starting with last season's champions from Mount Carmel.

Maccabi Haifa
  • Sherwood Brown - Brown is projected to be one of the most exciting players in the league, after a great performance with Florida Gulf Coast, leading the #15 seed to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament and the Atlantic Sun Player Of The Year award along the way.
  • David Cubillan - The Venezualan point guard has played at Marquette, without any outstanding achievements
  • Donta Smith - Continues for a second season in Haifa, a junior college graduate and a second round pick in 2004 by the Atlanta Hawks (never appeared for them). In addition to the Israeli title last year Smith has also won league championships in Australia (2009, final series MVP), Venezuela (2011, final series MVP) and Puerto Rico (2012, league MVP)
  • Brian Randle - An Israeli Super League veteran, having played previously for two seasons for Gilboa Galil (including a championship in 2010), another two seasons for Hapoel Jerusalem, and half a season last year with Hapoel Tel Aviv. In his college career Randle has played for Illinois, reaching the NCAA finals in his sophmore year alongside Deron Williams, winning the Big Ten Tournament in the same year as well.
  • Ike Ofoegbu - The Nigerian has played his college career for SMU, which is much more known for its football program than the basketball one.
Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • Devin Smith - Starting his third season for Maccabi. Previously played in Italy, Greece and Turkey, and before that for the Virginia Cavaleers.
  • Tyrese Rice - Rice has played in Greece, Lithuania and Germany since going undrafted in 2009. His Boston College team has reached the Sweet Sixteen in his freshman year in 2006
  • Ricky Hickman - Another returning player for Maccabi. Played his college career in UNC Greensboro.
  • Sofoklis Schortsanitis - Has played for Maccabi for two seasons, now returns for another one after a one season spell in Panathanaikos which ended in winning the Greek Championship. Has also 5 seasons in Olympiacos and a second round pick by the Clippers in his resume.Was a member of the 2006 Greece team that eliminated the American team in the World Championship semi finals and lost to Spain in the finals.
  • Joe Ingles - The Australian comes to Maccabi after a three year spell in Barcelona, winning two Spanish championships during that time
  • Shawn James - Starts his sixth season in Israel (three for now defunct Bnei HaSharon, and the third one for Maccabi). Was elected All Euroleague Second Team last year.
Hapoel Jerusalem
  • Ronald Dupree - Has played in 157 games across 6 seasons in the NBA with the Bulls, Pistons, Timberwolves, Supersonics and Raptors.Won the SEC title and reached the Sweet Sixteen in his freshman year at LSU
  • Derwin Kitchen - The Florida State alumni returns to Israel after dividing his playing time last year between Panathanaikos and Cedevita Zagreb.Played for Maccabi Rishon in 2011-2012.Was a member of the 2010-2011 Seminoles team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen.
  • Artiom Parakhouski - The Belorussian center played two years of his college career for Radford where he was selected Big South Player Of The Year in 2009 and 2010 (in that year he also led the country in rebounding).
  • Josh Duncan - Returning for a second season in Jerusalem and the third in total in Israel (played for Ashdod two years ago). Played his college career in Xavier, where he was selected Atlantic 10 Sixth Man Of The Year in 2008, and reached the Elite Eight in the same year.
Hapoel Eilat 
  • Christian Watford - One of the leading inspirations to this post.First season out of Indiana University, where he reached the Sweet Sixteen in the last two seasons, and had this winning shot against Kentucky.
  • Kevin Palmer - Played for two years for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, played in Greece and Japan since.
  • Terrence Roderick - Left college at UAB after his sophomore year.Played in Austria and Italy since.
  • Yancy Gates - Played his college career at Cincinnati, reaching the Sweet Sixteen in his senior season in 2012, along with being selected Second Team All-Big East. 
Hapoel Tel Aviv
  • Carlon Brown - Playing his first season outside of the United States.Split his college career between Utah and Colorado, leading the Buffaloes to a Pac-12 tournament title while winning the tournament MOP award in 2012
  • Vincent Council - Playing his first season outside of college, having graduated from Providence last year.
  • Justin Harper - The 32nd selection in the 2011 NBA Draft (by Cleveland) has played for 15 games (including one playoff appearance) for Orlando in 2011-2012.Has also played for Strasbourg in France during the NBA lockout.Was Brown's teammate last year in D-League's Idaho Stampede.Graduated from Richmond.
  • Josh Owens - Another player that played for Idaho Stampede last year.Graduated from Stanford, having been selected Second Team All-Pac-12 in 2012
Gilboa Galil
  • Rick Jackson - A Syracuse graduate, was elected Big East Defensive Player Of The Year and Second Team All-Big-East in his senior season in 2011.Also played for a season for Roanne in France
  • Adrian Banks - After a season of playing in Italy, the Arkansas State alumni makes his return to Israel where he already played for Barak Netanya for two seasons and was the top scorer in the league in 2012
  • Gerald Robinson - After having played in Great Britain, Germany, Iceland, Holland, Cyprus and Belgium, adds another league to his resume.
  • Drago Pasalic - The Croatian center has also played all across Europe before arriving at Gilboa.
Hapoel Holon
  • Brian Asbury - Another player that returns to Israel after a one year absence, having played in Spain last year after a season in Barak Netanya, and previously three seasons in the National League - two with Kiryat Tivon and one with Hapoel Tel Aviv. Graduated from Miami University.
  • Anthony Goods - Arrived in Israel in mid last year, joining Hapoel Tel Aviv.Played in Ukraine and Italy after graduating for Stanford in 2009
  • Laurence Bowers - First season out of college for the Missouri graduate, after having been selected Second Team All-SEC in his senior year
  • Jerai Grant - The son of former NBA player Harvey Grant, and nephew of four time NBA champion Horace Grant went to Clemson, just like his father and uncle, and played in Australia and Italy after graduating in 2011.Was selected All-ACC Defensive Team in his senior year.
Barak Netanya
  • Kenny Boynton - One of the most interesting players in the league for the upcoming season.Comes to Netanya straight out of Florida University, where he was selected All-SEC team in his junior year and Second All-SEC team in his sophomore and senior years, and also reached the Elite Eight in the last three seasons.
  • Rashaun Freeman - Played two years ago for Maccabi Habik'a, returns to Israel after splitting the previous season between France and Bosnia.Was selected All-Atlantic 10 First Team three times in a row during his tenure at U-Mass.
  • Julien Mills - Stays in Israel for a second season in a row, having played for Ashkelon last year.Was selected Statistical Player Of The Year in the Dutch League in 2011.Graduated from Ball State in 2007.
  • Bennet Davis - The Bahaman born has been playing all over the globe after graduating from Northeastern in 2007, now returns to where he started his professional career, having played for Ramat Gan in 2007-2008.
Maccabi Rishon
  • Dwayne Mitchell - Returns for a second spell in Rishon LeZion after having played for them in 2010-2011, also played for Holon in the season before that and for Ashkelon in the following one.
  • Tasmin Mitchell - Just like the other Mitchell on the team - returns to Israel after a one year absence, having played for Hapoel Holon two years ago.Was selected Second Team All-SEC in his senior year in 2010 and First Team All-SEC in 2009 while playing for LSU. Participated in the 2005 McDonald's All American game, playing alongside Andrew Bynum and Danny Green.
  • Ricardo Marsh - Another player on the Rishon squad with previous experience in Israel, having played for Ashkelon at 2006-2007 season.Played in Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine, Latvia, Serbia, Venezuela and even Iraq after that.
  • Bryan Hopkins - Joins Rishon after playing for Belgium's Antwerp Giants for the past 5 years.Played his college career at SMU having graduated in 2006
Bnei Hertzeliya
  • Chris Warren - Alike several other players that will play in the Super League in the upcoming season, the South Carolina graduate has played all over the world prior to arriving in Israel, with his career peak being having played several Euroleague seasons for Cibona and Avellino.
  • Jakim Donaldson - Has played most of his professional career (6 out of 8 seasons, including 6 of the last 7) for CB Canarias of Spain, having promoted with them from the third league in Spain to the ACB, winning the second division MVP title in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
  • Ndudi Ebi - Returns to a second spell at Hertzeliya, having played for the team in its' previous incarnation as Bnei HaSharon in 2007-2008. Was selected 26th in the 2003 NBA Draft by Minnesota out of high school, but played only 19 games for them in two seasons.
  • Michael Umeh - Played in Spain and Germany after graduating from UNLV in 2007, reaching the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in his senior year.Regularly plays for the Nigerian national team, having won the bronze medal with them at the 2011 African Championship.
 Maccabi Ashdod
  • Marcus Dove - Another player that continues in the Super League for the second straight year, having played for Ashkelon last season.Played his college career for Oklahoma State, sharing the 2007 Big 12 Defensive Player Of The Year award with Mario Chalmers.
  • Kenny Hayes - Also continues for a second season in Israel, joining Ashdod from Gilboa Galil.
  • Ryan Pearson - Played in Ukraine last year, in what was his first season out of George Mason, where he won the 2012 CAA Player Of The Year award in his senior season
  • Austin Freeman - Joined the team in mid last season from Hapoel Eilat, and continues for his second season in Israel.Played his college career for Georgetown, where was selected First Team All-Big East in his senior year in 2011 and Second Team in the previous year.
Ironi Nes-Ziona
  • Preston Knowles -The former Louisville Cardinals point guard was elected Second Team All-Big East in 2011 (his senior year) alonside Gilboa's Rick Jackson
  • Tyler Honeycutt - Was selected at number 35 by Sacramento in the 2011 NBA Draft as a sophomore out of UCLA, played 24 games in two seasons with the Kings.Was selected All-Pac 10 in his sophomore season.Will be playing his first season outside of the United States.
  • Warren Carter - Another returning player, having played for Gilboa Galil in 2010-2011 and 8 games for Barak Netanya in the following season.Was Derron Williams' and Brian Randle's teammate on the Illinois team that lost to North Carolina in the 2005 NCAA Finals.
  • Mitchell Watt - Played for Gilboa Galil last season, that was his first one out of college (Buffalo) and stayed in Israel for a second year.
So there you have it - 12 teams, 51 foreign players.I will follow the rosters throughout the year, it will be interesting to see how many of those actually finish the season here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

UFC - a live twitter exchange between Dana White and Yahoo Sports writer Kevin Iole

Dana White is not known as a man that holds back his thoughts, especially when irritated.So the following remark from Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole  (one of the most respected journalists in the sport, in my opinion) an hour ago triggered what was maybe not a full pledged Dana White style assault, but definitely a harsh response
Vitor Belfort's last two fights were indeed in Brazil - A knockout of Luke Rockhold in May, and another KO, of Michael Bisping in January.His previous fight was the infamous last moment substitution against Jon Jones in Canada last September.Now he's scheduled another fight in Brazil, against Dan Henderson in November - a rematch of a 2006 fight in Pride, after which Belfort tested positive for elevated level of testosterone.
But it wasn't the neglection of the Jones fight that lit a fire under White.It was the last word of Iole's tweet.And so it began.
Immediately followed by

Iole then asked the question directly
White obviously would have the last word

At this point the twitter exchange stopped.Maybe Iole did indeed call White. It was an interesting point raised by Iole, regarding the lacking drug tests in Brazil.Personally - I doubt White would knowingly allow Belfort to cheat and present him with a shortcut.Vitor Belfort is indeed a major draw in Brazil, and it does make sense from a business point of view to let him fight in Brazil.For example GSP's last four fights were held in Canada, three of which - in his native Quebec.

It will be interesting to read Kevin Iole's next Yahoo Sports column, and see his take on this word exchange.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Baseball - preview of the second half of the season

The all star break ends tomorrow, its a good time to preview what awaits us in the second half of the season.

I'll start with the AL East, where my Boston Red Sox are leading the majors so far, despite a shaky bullpen and, in my opinion, an overachieving rotation that will probably see Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront drop in production in the second half of the season.It will be interesting to see how and when does Clay Buchholtz return from his injury, and how long can Jon Lester continue beeing the weak spot in the rotation.After Brandon Workman's stellar debut as a starter it seems like the Sox at least have some depth (along with Allen Webster). It will be also interesting to see when will top prospect Xander Bogaerts make his debut, and what will he look like then.
The Sox are currently leading the division by 2.5 over Tampa Bay and 4.5 over Baltimore, which of course leads to another interesting question - when and by how much will Chris Davis' home run rate slow down? I don't really see him breaking Roger Maris' record (forget the PED controversy with McGwire and Bonds, Roger Maris is still the all time single season record holder at least in the American League), but will he reach 55?
And will Miguel Cabrera reach 50 and at least challenge for another Triple Crown? And speaking of the Tigers, after Max Scherzer had his first loss of the season right before the break - will it be the beginning of a slide, or will he continue to dominate and keep being the leading AL Cy Young candidate? The Tigers have a 1.5 game lead over the Indians, that seem like just won't give up.Considering Cleveland's relatively easy schedule in the remainder of the season, this could turn up to be an epic battle for the division.
In the AL West it will be Oakland vs. Texas all the way.It's funny to see the Angels have almost the same distance from Oakland (11 games) as they have from Houston (11.5). Did I say funny? I meant sad.
Moving to the National League - starting with the East.It currently looks like it's Atlanta's to lose with a 6 game lead over Washington and 6.5 over Philadelphia.The Phillies seem like they're overachieving, and the drop is soon to come, but with Cole Hammels still shaky they do have room to impove.The Nationals are making everybody expect the rise that will come - it hasn't come yet, but there still is time.
The NL Central  is currently where the action is.St. Louis are leading Pittsburgh by one game and Cincinnati by 5.Its going to be close, and everybody will keep asking the same question - will Pittsburgh make it to the playoffs? That, of course, after they're done with asking whether Pittsburgh will finish over .500.
And in the NL West it will be all about the Dodgers vs. Arizona. Currently the Diamondbacks are 2.5 games ahead, but anything can happen, especially with Yasiel Puig (a whole story by itself - will he suffer from a production drop once the opposing pitchers get used to him?), Clayton Kershaw and whoever else will join at the trade deadline.The Rockies are still hanging in, but I doubt they'll stay relevant in September, and the Giants are definitely out of it.

So there it is in brief, a lot of storylines to follow in the second half, I'll try to post more as the season progresses.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Previewing Sports Sunday - March 10th

There is no football or baseball played, so it can't exactly qualify as a Super Sports Sunday, however we do have a day filled with great College Hoops games, as some of the conferences finish off their regular season, and other, low-level ones, are already deep inside their conference tourneys.There is also some early-hour NBA and English FA cup and Premier League soccer.A lot of stuff to preview, so here we go.I'll start with today's College Hoops, which will be my main topic of interest in the next three weeks, all the way till March Madness ends.

The Big Ten finale seems a crazy enough finale for this insane season.Indiana are traveling to Michigan, and a victory will guarantee them the solo regular season conference title, which they could have clinched last week, if they have beat Ohio State at home.Which they didn't.Now a loss in Ann Arbor will not only share the conference title with Michigan, but also give Ohio State (hosting Illinois) and Michigan State (hosting second to last Northwestern, that won only two conference games on the road, one of which was at Penn State) a share of the title in case of a victory.

VCU will be travelling to Temple, where a victory will give them a share of the Atlantic 10 title in their first season at the conference.In case of a loss - St. Louis will hold the title alone, which will be an appropriate ending to a very emotional season for the Billikens, following Rick Majerus' death in December.For Temple it will be the last ever home game in the Atlantic 10, as they're moving to the "Old" Big East after 21 years in the A-10.

The finals of the Missouri Valley Conference tourney will be also held today, as the two best teams in the division, Creighton and Wichita State will be playing each other for the third time this season (each won their home game). Wichita State are trying to win the title for the first time since 1987, while Creighton won it last year, beating Illinois State in the finals.

Another conference that will be having it's finals today is the Big South, where surprising Liberty, that eliminated North Division top ranked team High Point in the quarterfinals, followed by a victory over South Division second ranked Gardner-Webb will be playing South Division's top team, Charleston Southern that have won the title for the last time in 1997, beating none other than Liberty (that have won it last in 2004).

Outside of College Hoops, two highly interesting matches will be played in England.In the FA cup Manchester United will be hosting Chelsea in a game that always delivers the drama.In addition, in the Premier League Liverpool will be hosting third placed Tottenham Hotspur, with Gareth Bale on fire as he's been seemingly all season.
Another interesting match in European soccer will be held in France, as second placed Lyon will host third placed Marseilles, as both teams try to gain ground in the race for the Champions League spots, and not to let PSG run away with the championship.

If it's not enough - in the NBA the Celtics are travelling to Oklahoma City in today's early game.Boston are currently #6 in the East, but could finish the night at #5, in case of a win and a Bulls loss to the Lakers in tonight's second early game.OKC will do all they can to avoid a stumble as they're chasing San Antonio for the top spot in the West.

So these are the main stories to follow today, and I didn't even include a full day of tennis action at the Indian Wells tourneys (both men and women) and Italian Serie A soccer.
So as usual - pour yourself a pint of beer, grab something to eat, and let's all enjoy the games!