Hapoel Jeruslaem owner Ori Allon has high expectations from the team..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Jerusalem owner Ori Allon is confident the team can improve on last season, one which he labeled as the greatest in club history.
Jerusalem won its second BSL championship in three years in 2016/17, while also reaching the Eurocup semifinals for the first time in 11 years and advancing to the State Cup final.
Nevertheless, Allon believes that this season’s roster guided by new Greek coach Fotis Katsikaris is superior to the one coached by Simone Pianigiani last term and he is expecting better results.
Jerusalem has maintained the core of last season’s roster, bringing back seven players. Amar’e Stoudemire is among the players who left, but Hapoel signed four new players, Austin Daye, Yogev Ohayon, Alen Omic and Greek Stratos Perperoglou. The Greek forward was brought in to add depth due to Tarence Kinsey’s lingering back injury.
“Most of the roster is back from last season, so that makes it easier to prepare for the new season,” Allon said during the club’s media day on Thursday. “We are coming off an excellent season, but I’m expecting the coming season to be even better. I want the team to continue and improve and I believe that we have a better roster than last season. From what I’m hearing, both Eurocup finalists and not just the winner will be given a place in the Euroleague, so if we deserve to qualify we will be there.”
Jerusalem continues its preparations when it faces Ironi Nahariya in the quarterfinals of the pre-season Winner Cup in Holon on Monday. The semifinals and final will also be played in Holon, next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
Hapoel plays Nahariya in its BSL regular season opener a week later on October 8, three days before it visits Lietkabelis Panevezys in Lithuania in its first Eurocup game of the season.
“This club has high expectations, but every season is different,” said Katsikaris. “There are different circumstances and different scenarios in every season, so we are going to start writing our story.”