(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Jerusalem found out the identity of its rivals in the Eurocup regular season in 2017/18 on Thursday, with the BSL champion aiming to build on reaching the semifinals last season.
Jerusalem will face Galatasaray of Turkey, Bayern Munich of Germany, Reggio Emilia of Italy, Lietkabelis Panevezys of Lithuania and Buducnost of Montenegro in Group B.
The competition’s format remains unchanged from last season, with the best four teams from each group after a 10-game, round-robin regular season, to advance to the Top 16.
The regular season will be played from October 11 to December 27, with the Top 16 starting on January 3, 2018 and finishing on February 7.
The Top 16 phase will be comprised of four groups of four teams, and after a six-game round-robin schedule, the best two from each group will move on to best-of-three quarterfinal playoffs series. The semifinals and finals will also be played in a best-of-three series format.
The Eurocup champion will gain automatic entry to the Euroleague the following season.
With most teams, including Jerusalem, still in the midst of building their rosters for next season, it is difficult to assess Hapoel’s chances in the competition. Nevertheless, Hapoel is expecting to at least reach the quarterfinals, with the hope of then going even further than last season.
Jerusalem announced last week the signing of Greek Fotis Katsikaris as its new head coach, agreeing a three-year deal with the former coach of the Greece national team.
Following Katsikaris’s signing, Hapoel turned its focus to building next season’s roster. Hapoel is closing on the signing of Yogev Ohayon, who looks set to be on his way out of Maccabi Tel Aviv after six years.
Maccabi had an option to extend his contract another year, but chose to compensate him instead. The yellow-and-blue was hoping the 30-year-old guard would accept a reduced deal, but he now seems set to go to Jerusalem, where he played between 2009 and 2011 before moving to Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem has already ensured last season’s core will continue for another campaign. Despite a drop in production, veteran Israelis Yotam Halperin and Lior Eliyahu will be back. Richard Howell will also return for 2017/18.
Howell only joined the team from Hapoel Tel Aviv in mid-April, a week after he received Israeli citizenship due to his marriage the previous summer.
Hapoel has also extended the stay of Americans Jerome Dyson and Tarence Kinsey. Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t meet pre-season expectations, but he is expected to continue for another campaign.