Sunday, 6 May 2012


Got home almost 2 weeks ago. Great to be back. Just been hanging out, working out, and seeing friends etc. Going to be home for like 3 and a half months this summer, which is longer than I've been home in probably 5 years. Haven't been this excited for a summer in a long time. Got a bunch of stuff planned and a couple different trips on the books.

Looking back at the year, it was probably the least fun I've had playing basketball in a long time. Obviously there were a lot of good times too with alot of good guys on the two teams I played on, but overall it was a disappointing year. I never really considered myself someone who gets homesick per se, but this year I definitely wanted to get back.

I've shot around twice in the 2+ weeks that we got knocked out of the playoffs... probably the least I've played basketball in a long time. Can't say I'm too bothered by it though. I do enjoy just going to mess around in the gym, but it's not as if I feel compelled to do it right now. Pretty content to just work out and hang around. I have to wait until the beginning of June to hear from my current team if they want to option my contract for next season. If so I'll be back there, if not then I'll have to look at other options. Either way I'm not too worried about it.

I thought I was going to go on more of a rant about how the year went, but now I don't really feel like it. Suffice to say it was very disappointing and I hope to never have as down and frustrating a year again.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Playoffs

Monday night we had game 1 of our first round quarterfinal playoff match up against the #2 team in the league, Be'er Yaakov. In the first match up of the year (before I got here) we had gotten beat by like 20 on our home court. In the second meeting, however, we went down there and played a great game and won by double digits.

The game started off pretty well and the score remained close until midway through the third quarter. We had some turnovers, bad shots, and the like and things just started unraveling. It was pretty crazy to see. One second it was a close game, the next we were down 20 points and the game was over. I was pretty uninvolved in the game and finished with basically no statistics in a handful of minutes.

Tuesday night we had "practice" which consisted of some shooting "games" that were mostly stupid, and going over some of our strategy for game 2.

Wednesday we did......... nothing. We didn't practice because it was Holocaust Remembrance Day and they couldn't get a gym for us. No, we did not practice the day before our elimination game and the possible end of our season.

Thursday was game day and surprisingly we came out pretty well. Luckily for me our center got 2 early fouls so I got to do my thing in the first half for a while. I had like 7 and 4 in the first half and we went up double digits in the second quarter while I was playing. Sadly for me, our center DIDN'T have foul trouble in the second half.... so I didnt play much. Be'er Yaakov also started playing their other star player (who was coming back from injury and they were kind of hoping to rest) and he absolutely killed us. When he subbed in he must have scored like 12 straight points. Needless to say he didn't look very injured. Anyways they made up about 15 points in the third quarter. Down the stretch in the fourth people took some bad shots and had some turnovers and we lost by a handful of points. At halftime I would never have believed we were going to lose.... but I can't say I was broken up. It's probably the most emotionally detached I've ever been to a season ending loss.

Since then we've just been hanging out, going to work out at the gym, and going out at nights. I went to Jerusalem on Friday to say goodbye to my family there and gave back my car this morning. We're still waiting to hear from the management about flights out, but I'm hoping it'll be Thursday morning by the latest. Glad to be finally going home

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A New Low

Oh ya forgot. Reached a new low in unprofessionalism after our game last night. After the game, our trainer/team didn't have any scissors to cut the tape off of ankles etc. Had to rip it off strip by strip. Some pieces got caught and I had to wait until we got home like 2 hours later to cut it off...
We didnt have Scissors. To cut tape.

Might seem like a small thing but it's more of a symbol of inadequacy. Hilarious.

Last Game of Reg Season

We lost last night in our regular season finale in Kiryat Ata. They are a couple spots down from us and didn't make the playoffs. We could have went up as high as 4th place if we had won, and a couple teams above us had lost.... but it didnt happen. It was a pretty crap game. Our import point guard hurt his hamstring in the first half so he didnt play too much. We gave up a lot of easy baskets and just did a crap job on defense. Final score was 101-96. I played a grand total of 4 minutes. thanks for nothing coach. I wouldn't be as pissed but our 'coach' talks to me like im going to play etc etc, then doesn't give me a chance. Just full of shit. Anyways we finish in 7th place and go into the first round, best of 3 playoff series against #2 Be'er Yaakov. I think the first game in Monday, and thankfully it's 2 games a week in the playoffs.

Monday, 9 April 2012


Hilariously unprofessional week. We won our game last tuesday (the overtime game). Then had our usual day off Wednesday. Thursday we basically had fun in practice, playing 3 on 3 and 1 on 1 games, and shooting some. Friday we had off, Saturday we had off. Sunday we had real practice, and today we had practice but it was pretty bullshit. So we really only had one solid practice this week (Sunday). And yet its supposed to be "suuuuch an important game" tomorrow. Meh, whatever, I don't care, I was working out by myself but it's just a joke.

Playoffs baby

Last week we played our second last game of the season, at home vs Nes Ziona (who I think was in 4th place at the time)

Because of how the standings were with two games left, if we were to go 0-2, and the two teams below us both went 2-0, then we would end up in 9th place and out of playoffs. So this was a pretty big game to make sure we got in. Although if either of the teams below us lost then we would get in via tiebreak.

We started out the game pretty badly and were down 10 early. But we chipped away and by halftime it was only a few points difference. Second half we picked it up and I had a couple baskets. It was back and forth and nearing the end of the fourth our centre fouled out. So I was back in the game. We were up one when the foreigner from their team scored on a post up and put us down 1. On the ensuing possession our pg missed a jumper form the right wing that might have got tipped. I jumped up grabbed it and got fouled on the put back. So I went to the line, down 1 with 5 seconds to go.... Bricked the first one lol. But made the second one to tie it. The game went to overtime and we eventually pulled out the victory. I like to think I saved the game. Anyways point is we clinched the playoff spot with the win... although we found out later BOTH of the teams below us lost... so we were in the playoffs regardless.

Tomorrow is our last regular season game away at Kiryat Ata and only matters for seeding purposes. There's not alot of urgency on the team because all last week the coach/everyone just kept saying we just needed to win that last game blah blah etc etc. Then we won and now they're all saying how important this game is. Anyways not alot of pressure on this game so we'll see how people come ready to play. I'm clearly just trying to pad my stats so i'll be ready to go.

Playoffs start a week today, get hyphy

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Speaking of injuries.... I'll just go on a rant about the aftermath of getting hurt. We "have" a "trainer" on the team that is supposed to help out. But he's not really a team trainer... He only comes to practice on sundays, and then comes to games on tuesdays... so not exactly working 24/7. It's more like he is a normal guy and treats regular people, and if someone gets hurt they can go to him and he'll do his thing.

Even before all of this, I don't exactly trust the trainers out here. They are just taught and do things differently than we do in North America and it's just not comfortable to see things done differently than you're used to. Also we don't have any of the fancy (aka normal) equipment we would have back home. I.e. cold/hot whirl pool, ultrasound, electric stim, watever.

Back to our trainer. He has a 'clinic' that he works out of about 15 minutes away from where we live. So I would have to call him, schedule an appointment... which basically consisted of him trying to squeeze me in during his day. Sometimes I wouldn't be able to be squeezed in.... so no treatment that day. Then the coaches/management are asking me if I went to the trainer... I'm like, no he was all busy, etc etc. So then I'm supposed to tell them so they can call the trainer and curse him out or whatever. Like its my fault that they don't want to pay someone to work for them and help us. Luckily for them its not the first time I ever sprained an ankle and I generally know what I can do to help it out. It's been feeling better and hopefully will be back to 100% in the next couple of days.

And today i jammed my finger really hard :'(

Injury report

Took another blogging hiatus during the gf's visit... but sadly she's gone so I have a huge amount of time to bloggggggg.

3 weeks ago this Tuesday I sprained my ankle in our game. I had been playing pretty well and it was nearing the end of the third quarter I think. I limped off and didnt play the rest of the game (which we went on to win). So that hurt like a bitch. I limped around for a couple days and by the next week I gave playing a shot... It didn't go well. It was still hurting alot and I played like 2-4 minutes maybe. Stupid to try. By the next week (last game) I was starting to feel better and did my thing. I went in in the second quarter and was 3/3... Then in the second half I played like 2 minutes in the early 4th quarter.... Pretty frustrating to not get more minutes. Especially in that game where we had built a 19 point lead (and had gone up while I was playing), but later gave the entire thing up in the 3rd quarter (while I was out). It would have clinched the 7th playoff spot for us, but we ended up losing the game by 2. I was embarrassed. Although can't say the blame was on me. Anyways we have a game in 2 days at home to clinch the 8th playoff spot I think. It's our second last regular season game and its kind of a big deal. I dunno our team dynamic is notttt working too well right now, but we'll see what happens

Thursday, 1 March 2012

This is just getting crazy

On sunday we were told that our coach, Hanan, would no longer be coaching us. I believe it was for health reasons but not really sure... they don't tell us much. So I'm going to be moving on to my sixth coach of the year.... crazy.

But for our game on Tuesday, a guy from management named Israel coached us (as he did the other week when Hanan was sick). He definitely likes me and I got to play for a while uninterrupted and get into the flow of things. I finished with 10 pts (4 for 4 shooting)/6 rebounds in almost 20 minutes, and played good defense throughout. It was probably my best game since I've been here and we won the game. That moved us back into a tie for 4th with 6 games remaining.

As it turns out, I don't think the club wants to spend any money so Israel might continue to coach us for the rest of year. I think they've figured out our team is talented enough to make the playoffs without alot of coaching over the next couple weeks... so that's what theyre going to let us do.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Rant Time

Some stuff has been weighing on my mind about 'professional' basketball in Israel. Obviously the rest of the world doesn't have alot of the advantages that North America has in terms of sports and facilities and things like that... But some stuff here just makes me so angry. First and Foremost, and this is like complaint 1 through 27, is that there are no gyms available. Yes, that's exactly how it sounds. We do not have a basketball court to play basketball on except for the short time we have practice, and even then it's not under ideal circumstances. Our practice gym is also home to a day school I believe, as well as a number of volleyball, gymnastics, judo, etc, etc, etc, classes. So if we have practice at 7pm, usually there is gymnastics until like 6:50 or something. What this means is that even if I was inclined to come to practice early and work out by myself from say 6:30-7, I wouldn't really be able to. On the other end of it, when practice is over we only have a short period of time where we can continue to be on the court. The equipment managers hustle us off the court and into the locker rooms to shower so that they can take all the practice gear and laundry and get out of there. Now it has to be said that it's not like I'm used to the finest facilities or incredible access to the gym and such and such... Lafayette wasn't exactly the pinnacle of that type of stuff either lol. But I assumed at this point in my career, being paid as a professional athlete and being expected to perform, that I would be able to practice and improve if I wanted to. To that end, I assumed that outside of the established practice times (which really is only around an hour and a half), there is no available gym time to speak of. Yes,  you heard right, there are no times to come to the gym and work out on your own. Actually thats not true, every once in a while they'll tell us that we can come to this alternate gym with a concrete floor to shoot around from like 8 to 9am.... great. thanks for nothing.  This annoys/bothers me to no end. Like I'm being paid to play basketball but can't practice my basketball skillz other than in the small window of practice which is often not revolving around personal development. I had the same feeling many times during my Lafayette career. The feeling that the circumstances surrounding basketball didn't allow me to be the best basketball player I could be. Here I am, with people expecting results and strong performances, but I can't work to make sure my skill level improves or maintains itself. This is especially bothersome for me, and I honestly believe has hurt my level of play this year, because of the type of game I have. My accomplishments and skills as a basketball player revolve around having a great touch around the basket, feel for when to do what move or play, and finishing a high percentage of plays/shots. All of these things revolve around getting a lot of shots up on myself and being very comfortable with the ball etc. Sadly because we almost literally have no time to be in the gym and do our own thing, I haven't been able to keep up with my usual level of that type of thing. Which angers me. and frustrates me. Obviously I want to practice more and play better but I can't. I could go on and on about this so I'm just going to stop.

Another thing is everything about practice. First off we've stopped practicing on Saturdays (shabbat) so we're down to 4 days a week practicing, 1 game, 2 days off. Second, practice is only around an hour and a half, and alot of it is basically bullshit. People are lazy, lots of stupid bullshit euro drills. Our coach is very quiet and unemotional. Said he's "not here to motivate us"... which I think is almost a part of the definition for a coach's role in leading the team, at least at some times. Altho I don't put much blame on him, its mostly the team. I am constantly thinking how it compares to the far more structured, intense, and challenging practice atmosphere in college. Also I keep thinking about how much better the young kids would develop under college coaches and practices than they are here.

Altho the locker room, training staff, and other surrounding circumstances aren't NBA level, that doesnt bother me that much. Like I said I didn't grow up with a life of being spoiled by incredible athletic facilities etc. rant over for now i guess.

Anyways we've got 7 games to go in the season and are sitting in 5th place. It's a close league so it really depends how the next couple games go to determine if we're going to stay in the top 8 and make the playoffs. Honestly I'm almost indifferent. I want to come home already, have time off from basketball for a while and then be able to work out on my own terms and be back to playing at the level I'm accustomed to. But alas, gotta grind it out for a little while longer and try and stay in the playoff hunt.

Sooooooooooooo bitter

Just heard the other day from one of my former teammates, Kenny, that my old team released the big guy they signed a month or so ago. The 36 year old who played in Israel 8 or 9 years ago. Anyways basically they released him after a month or so, I think they were paying him like 10 or 12K a month. I heard the news and all I could think was how stupid they are. Ah whatever, I'm long go. Still annoys me though

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Catching up again

Been scumming hard on the blog lately... dunno why. We've gone 3-0 since the new coach has here, beating the 1st place, 4th place, and 5th place teams... all ironically after we lost to the last place team. Although our new coach Hanan wasn't at this last game, nor was he at practice all week due to some undisclosed illness. Apparently it was pretty serious because he was in the hospital for a fair bit of time. Thankfully we've been told he's on the mend and will supposedly be at practice tomorrow. So that's good that he got better.

In other basketball news, during the 4th quarter of last game our Israeli point guard, Avi, went down with a knee injury. We haven't really heard exactly what the deal is but there was mention he could be out for 6 weeks. If that's true that would bring us basically to the end of the regular season. So we'll see what happens with that. He's a veteran guard who knows the ropes, although at times he is pretty damn frustrating.

On the team side, our recent string of wins over teams in the top half of the league, combined with a couple added losses by some of the top half teams, have allowed us to move up into 4th place overall in the league. With (I think) eight games to go we're in a pretty good position to remain in the top 8 and make the playoffs. Its becoming increasingly clear that that is the limit of the teams expectations (and goals) for this year. And because the team is doing well they have basically realized they can skimp by with doing the least possible for the team. They haven't, and won't, hire an assistant coach to help out... the stupidity of which became increasingly clear with our head coach out of the picture for almost 2 weeks. Players have basically been running practice ourselves and its been pretty bullshit. People slacking off alot etc. We've also done away with  having scouting reports for games... At this point its basically one or two guys on our team throwing out a couple names from our opponents team and a little bit about them before every game. The professionalism of the team is kinda devolving. Also, we've stopped practicing on saturdays, possibly because our coach is religious and practices shabbat... but even so I don't know why we don't practice later at night. So we're at 4 days of practice, 1 game, 2 days off.

In other news, I moved out from my apartment in Herzliya a little over 2 weeks ago and brought everything over to the new apartment in Hod Hasharon about 20-30 minutes away. By new I mean the apartment 3 of my teammates, and one wife of a teammate, have been living in all year. What happened was, one of the 3 ended up getting cut, and recently flew home, creating a room for me to stay in. The apartment isn't too shabby, about 10 minutes away from the gym and right around a busy intersection in the town. Lot of little restaurants, convenience stores, etc around. The apartment itself is not bad, pretty big kitchen and really big living room. Bathroom is by itself in this tiny room next to a bigger room that has the shower, another sink, and a washing and drying machine. The dryer is really nice to have after having to dry my clothes outside all year. We don't exactly keep the bathroom and shower in pristine condition but its alright, although the shower itself is a piece of crap. My bedroom is basically just an empty room with a bed. Oh, I also have a wooden chair... sweet.

Had some 'want my mother' moments recently. Last week the night before we played the 1st place team I hadn't been feeling good. On gameday Tuesday it was worse, and from Tuesday night to Friday morning I was more or less dying. I learned around Thursday that some stomach virus had been going around and a number of people had had it... otherwise I was starting to get worried. By Friday morning I was feeling better and ate my first real meal in 5 or 6 days that night. The next couple days at practice were pretty rough after not having done anything for a whole week almost. Thankfully my stomachs all back to normal these days. Then earlier this week I woke up one night feeling all itchy everywhere and some red splotches on my body... it was pretty effing annoying and I was scratching my life away. Don't really know what it was but got some generic allergy medicine the next day and it went away so I guess its all good. I think I must have touched something weird and then touched my body. Anyways I could have used someone to take care of me, but I survived.

Think that's about it. Hopefully the weather starts getting better soon around here, although earlier today when I was in Jerusalem it was hailing really hard for like 5 minutes. Pretty weird to see. The gf will be back in a month so just grinding out a couple more weeks til I can see her, should be good. Later all

Monday, 30 January 2012

Uh Oh, it happened again

Two days after our loss at Kfar Saba the team was told to come to the gym an hour before practice. Once there we had a meeting where we were informed our coach was leaving to coach at Maccabi Haifa in the first division.  Everyone was pretty surprised to hear it. That being said we had 3 days without a coach before the new guy was hired. This would be my 5th head coach of the year haha, so crazy. He's a young guy who seems pretty cool so we'll see what happens. First game with him as coach is tomorrow night

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

@ Kfar Saba

My first game with the new team was an away game in  Kfar Saba which is right next to Hod Hasharon. Kfar Saba is 13th in the league at 3-11 or something like that. The game was pretty up and down and the foreign big man for them, Marshall Moses, was killing is. He finished the first half with 25 points. I got into the game with a couple minutes left in the first quarter and didnt do much. In the second quarter I started to settle in and scored a  couple baskets. We made a run and went up 4 or 5 but then had some lapses and gave back the lead, heading into the half down 5. Second half we came out really well and took the lead. For the rest of the half it was back and forth although we were usually winning. Nearing the end of the fourth we were up 6 or 7 but a string of bad plays brought the game to within one point. With around 30 seconds on the clock we had the ball on the offensive end and were playing keep away when our 4 man took, and made, a three pointer from the corner with 5 seconds left. However, the refs ruled it a 2 putting us up only 3 points instead of 4. Obviously  very significant bc now the game could be tied with a 3. We wanted to foul as soon as the ball was inbounded so as not to give them a chance to tie the game. So one of our Israeli guards, Allen, fouled the foreigner guard on Kfar Saba, Erick McCollum, as he caught the ball. McCollum tried to draw the foul by "shooting" it right away... and incredible the refs gave him the call. He went to the line, made the first two, but missed the third. In the ensuing mess it appeared that a Kfar Saba player jumped from behind our 4 man and tipped the ball out of bounds... but again the refs gave the call to KS and gave them back the ball. With 4 seconds remaining they in bounded the ball to my man, Moses, who tried to drive before taking a step back jumper from 18ft.... and making it for the win. Bad loss seeing as theyre so low in the standings. And we definitely threw the game away with some bad decisions and turnovers.

Personally, it was good to be back playing in a game and contributing. I've got about 30 scratches from the game all over me and a couple bruises. I played alright, probably logged about 20 minutes. 4/4 with 8 points, a couple rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover. The team is in 7th place right now so we have to bounce back next week. Probably going to be a rouuuugh practice tomorrow

The New Gym

Not exactly state of the art but whatever

Saturday, 21 January 2012

And I'm Gone

Couple days ago I asked for a release from Bnei Hasharon and signed with a different team, Hod Hasharon in the 2nd division. They are kind of like the farm team to Maccabi Haifa in the 1st division and are owned by the same guy. Anyways basically I wasn't really playing at Bnei and my relationship with the management and stuff wasn't great as far as playing so it was just a better thing all around to go somewhere else and have a new start.

Hod Hasharon is near Kfar Saba about 20 minutes away from where I live in Herzliya. It's still being figured out if I have to change apartments and move closer to the new team, or if I'll be able to stay in Herzliya. I'd rather stay just because it'll be such a hassle to move, and I'm pretty comfortable in the Herz. I also got a new car bc I had to give back the one I got from Bnei at the beginning of the year. So now I have this goldish Kia Rio... class class class.

Anyways started practicing with the team on Thursday. Really good group of guys. Theres about 5 other American-Jewish players that did what I did and got their Israeli citizenship. Add the 2 American foreigners and basically the whole team speaks English as a first language. I'm not eligible to play in our game tonight because the contract still has to go through the league officials or something but Tuesday night I'll be playing. Excited to have a fresh start and hopefully get back to just playing like myself

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Second Round Game 2: @ Haifa

Big game this past Sunday up in Haifa. Big game because they were a game ahead of us in the standings, but we beat them in the first round so we have the tiebreaker. Which means if we were to beat them again it would be like winning 2 games. The game was close from the get go and we were playing pretty well. Team was playing together with some alright defense except for a couple minutes where we gave up a couple transition dunks. Other than that it was a pretty even half that ended I think at 45-39. I played a few minutes in the first half without much happening. was 0/1 wtih 1 rbd. Second half things started to get way chippier. There were alot of plays where there probably should have been fouls but none were called. We ended up going on a pretty big run with a bunch of threepointers, including two crazy buzzer beater threes by our pg Tweety. Eventually we went up as big as 15 I think. Haifa made a comeback of sorts thanks to a couple bad turnovers/shots by us but the lead never went below 8 or so and we finished off the game with the win. Great to finally win after such a drought and finally get out of the basement of the league.

Cup Game #2

A while back we played, and won, our first game in the Israeli Cup. The cup is a tournament with teams from the first and second leagues and is separate from the individual leagues. Last Monday we played in the round of 16 against Maccabi Tel Aviv at home. The cup is kind of cool like that because the lower seed gets to play at home, I guess to give them a better chance at the upset. Anyways this was our first game with our third coach. It went ok, we were close for the majority of the game but in the end they pulled away a bit and we lost by 20 points I think. Obviously an improvement over when we played them a couple weeks ago and got 40 balled. I didn't get to play in the game though... sad times. So because we lost we're out of the cup and back to just our regular league schedule

Friday, 13 January 2012

Another one bites the dust

Wednesday after our game vs Jerusalem we come to the gym to find thaaaaat....... our coach quit. Basically said he couldn't do what he wants with the team we have so not going to stay. Thanks for nothing.

Second Round Game 1: vs Jerusalem

So the second round begins. In the first round we lost in OT to Jerusalem. They had just brought in a new coach for this game. Had also recently brought in Demetri McCamey from Illinois last year.

Shockingly, I got the nod to start the game. Fine with me. Finally get to play a little. First quarter I had 6 of the teams first 8 points, was doin my thing. We were playing alright, nothing crazy. Second quarter they had a bit of a run on us and I think we were down 12 or 15 or something at the half. Second half we came out really shitty and they ended up running the score up on us something serious... In related or unrelated news, your decision, I didn't play at all in the second half.. Preeeeeeetty frustrating. Curveball coming up in my next post

Game 10: vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Our last game of the first round was against Maccabi T-A at home. Obviously things had not been going well of late, with us losing a couple blowout games. Leading up to the game I was told I would probably start the game. Then the day before the game I got told that I wasn't going to start because one of our Americans was hurt and they were changing the line up... no big deal sall good. Supposedly I was going to get some minutes early on. We started out the game pretty well, it was a back and forth first quarter. Not alot of defense but we were right there. Second quarter also went alright until about 2 minutes left... Then we kind of fell apart giving up a couple open three pointers and heading into the locker room down double digits. In the third quarter we COMPLETELY fell apart and were down by 30 some odd points. With 5 minutes left in the game I finally got in (thanks for nothing coach). I made a jumpshot and got a couple rebounds, 2 pts & 2 rbds. We lost by 40 points I think. So we ended the first round of the season 2-8 and last place in the league. Shockingly we're only one game behind the next two teams in the standings so if we stopped sucking balls so hard we could conceivably do something. We'll see what happens