While Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa continue their preparations for next week’s two-legged BSL final, Hapoel Jerusalem is once more focused on rebuilding.
Despite leading the league standings for much of the year and only missing out on the No. 1 seed in the final game of the regular season, Jerusalem’s campaign ended on a very sour note when it failed to reach the BSL final for a seventh consecutive year.
Jerusalem, which also reached the Eurocup quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, suffered a 3-1 series defeat to Maccabi Haifa, being humbled in a 90-68 loss in Game 4 on Monday after already trailing by 25 points at the break (50-25).
Hapoel entered the series with homecourt advantage, but lost Game 1 at Malha Arena by 28 points and its capitulation is set to result in the firing of coach Brad Greenberg.
Greenberg was given a three-year contract when he joined the club last summer after guiding Maccabi Haifa to the BSL title. He was forced to manage without two starters for much of the series with Haifa, with both Art Parakhouski and Lior Eliyahu suffering season- ending injuries.
Nevertheless, Jerusalem’s management is set to activate a clause in its contract with Greenberg which allows it to terminate the deal with the coach.
Pini Gershon, Oded Katash and Erez Edelstein have all been mentioned in connection with the position, although Greenberg has yet to be officially notified that he will not be continuing at the club.
“I can hold my head up high and I told my guys in the locker room that they shouldn’t let anybody make them feel bad,” Greenberg said after the painful defeat in Haifa. “They deserve the respect for having a remarkable season. We brought Malha back alive this year. It’s a sour note to end on, but there were so many positive things."
“I want to stay,” he added. “I want to keep building this team. We anticipated that this would be a process and we exceeded expectations in the first year.”
Yotam Halperin, Lior Eliyahu and Derwin Kitchen are all under contract and are expected to remain with the team, with Jerusalem also hoping to re-sign Bracey Wright, Josh Duncan and Art Parakhouski Ori Allon, the head of the club’s ownership group, confirmed that there will be several changes in the off-season, but refused to comment on Greenberg’s status or go into any specifics.
“The team didn’t come up with the goods the way I hoped, but we will make changes in the summer and will be a lot stronger next season,” said Allon. “We brought the fans back to Malha this year, and next year in the new Arena we will try and achieve our professional goals. If we don’t manage to do that next season than that will be a disappointment.”
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