Hi EuroCup fans. I know a lot of players are using their blogs to tell you about themselves and I will try to do that to. Unfortunately, I wish I had more off-court interests I could tell you about, but most of my time is dedicated to basketball. I would love to learn photography and to play some musicals instruments, especially guitar. My favorite musician is an Israel singer, Dudu Tassa. I like to listen to his music before game to help me get focused and stay calm.
I started playing basketball as a boy because of my father. He played, though not at a high level. But he would bring me to watch him play and I would sit on the sidelines. After the games I would shoot around. My favorite players when I was growing up were Oded Kattash and Saras [Jasikevicius].
When I started to play as a professional in the lower leagues in Israel, I was also called to serve in the Israeli Army, like all men in Israel at age 18. It was very difficult at first to learn to balance between army life and basketball. I was always running from the army to basketball practice and back. After one year in the army, my commanders became more flexible. They understood my situation and worked with me where they could as far as my hours and assignments. It became much easier in my second and third years of service. I can tell you that my shooting percentage from three-point range is much higher than my shooting percentage with a rifle! This is now my fourth season playing for Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and I have had many teammates who have learned from and become friends with. Two teammates in particular that stand out are E.J. Rowland and Curtis Jerrells. We play the same position so I was able to work out with them and learn from them. They are both real good guys. Even though there is always a certain competitive nature, especially when you are talking about guys playing the same position, both of them gave me tips that helped me. They were leaders and by the time they came to Jerusalem, they had learned how to run a team and to explain things to other players. I enjoyed playing with them on the court. In fact, I think our connection started from playing and grew from there and not vice versa. I enjoyed playing and had a lot of fun with both of them. E.J. and I are still in touch, so the friendship was more than just about basketball.
A lot of athletes are superstitious and I actually have a lot of superstitions as a basketball player and in general, but I have been trying to cut down. I always put on my footwear in the same order: I put on my right sock and then my left sock, then my right shoe and then my left shoe, and then I tie my left shoe before I tie my right shoe. I do this every time I play, whether in practice or in a game, and have been doing it this way since I was 13. I actually do this with all my shoes. And if I am wearing slippers or sandals, something that I don’t have to tie, I put it halfway on my right foot, halfway on my left and then step all the way in with the right and all the way in with the left. Another superstition is that I always try to step onto the court with my right foot first, though I am less rigid about that.
To finish, a little basketball. We have had a rough start to the season and every game from now on is like a final for us. But we are sort of going on a new path now with Mody Maor as coach and with some new players. As long as we have a chance to advance to the Top 16, it is our job as players to believe and to do everything we can to win games and advance.