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.