Turkish Airlines Euroleague
December 13, 2013
Club Profile 2012-13: Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem
July 18, 2012
Former Eurocup champion Hapoel Jerusalem will mark its ninth season in the competition this year eager to go far under the tutelage of head coach Sharon Drucker, the man that led the club to its only continental title back in 2004. In recent seasons Hapoel has stumbled a bit and failed to advance past the regular season, but with the backing of the loyal fans in the Israeli capital, a run deep is never far off – Jerusalem has been as far as the quarterfinals on four separate occasions. Hapoel’s romance with the Eurocup began in 2004 when it rewrote European basketball history with an incredible postseason run with win over Prokom, Lietuvos Rytas and FMP Zeleznik to reach the ULEB Cup Final. Hapoel then knocked off mighty Real Madrid in the title game in Charleroi, winning its first – and to date only – European trophy. Organized basketball in Jerusalem dated back to before the establishment of Israel and Hapoel Jerusalem was among the first teams when the Israeli League was founded in 1955. The club enjoyed few highlights in the decades that followed, but in the 1990s began a march that turned Jerusalem into the clear No. 2 in Israeli basketball behind Maccabi Tel Aviv. Star guard Adi Gordon led Jerusalem to its first two titles, the 1996 and ’97 Israeli Cups – the former with Coach Pini Gershon calling the shots on the sidelines. Jerusalem began making noise in Europe too and an appearance in the 1997 Saporta Cup quarterfinals helped the club reach the Euroleague for the first time. In 1999, Jerusalem beat out Maccabi for first place in the Israeli League regular season, but came up short in the playoff finals. Still the club continued making noise and played the original Euroleague season in 2000-01. In 2002 Meir Tapiro helped Jerusalem climb to the Saporta Cup semifinals and two years later, Willie Solomon, Doron Sheffer and Tunji Awojobi led Jerusalem to its first continental title. More recently Jerusalem lifted the Israeli Cup again in 2007 and 2008. With Tapiro back this year for a swan song, there could be some more magic in store in Jerusalem.