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.

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