Maccabiah announced today that Jake Cohen, arguably the biggest name in Team
USA’s Baskteball roster, will not participate in the games. Cohen, who was
recently signed by Maccabi Tel Aviv, is playing in the NBA summer league hoping
to fulfill his dream of playing in the NBA.
“Jake isn’t with us, because
he was scheduled to play with the Phoenix Suns in the Las Vegas summer league.
He is a good player, but he is not here,” explained Team USA’s Head Coach, Brad
Greenberg, in an exclusive interview to the Maccabiah website.
he told us that he wanted to play with us, but if he has an opportunity to be
with an NBA team in the summer league either in Orlando or Las Vegas, he will do
that. He didn’t get drafted, we knew about a month ago that he was probably
going to get an opportunity, and we decided to give him a chance to try his
Greenberg, who led Maccabi Haifa to an historic Israel
championship win, will coach Team USA together with Michael Carter and Willie
Sims, both of whom starred in the Israeli basketball league in the 1980’s and
1990’s. Carter’s sons, Ben and Timothy, were selected to play for Team USA, but
an injury in his first practice in Israel will likely sideline Timothy for the
“I am happy to work with Carter ‘The Meshuge’ and with Willie
Sims. We had three practices and a few of the players know each other from
playing against each other, from colleges, summer basketball programs and high
school,” explained Greenberg.
“Two are teammates in the same college –
Mitchel Kates and Will Tashman, both played at MIT. Brian Cohen played in
Maccabi Haifa in the past year. I know that the Israeli team that is in Estonia
playing in the European U20 Tournament will play in the Maccabiah
Games. In any case, our players are good workers, good guys, and I think
we will be good and competitive.”
Coach Greenberg also referred to the
Israeli championship with Maccabi Haifa, to Gal Mekel and finally, to his future
in Israel: “I knew we had a really good team, and it was a big deal
We had a real team, good chemistry, the players were playing
together, and with a good attitude. It was really a special team. I am so
excited and proud for Gal Mekel. I told people that he is not only a very
talented player, but one of the most mature and emotionally intelligent people I
have been around. It was an honor to coach him.”
As for his future in
Israel, he said: “I loved coaching in Israel, I loved being in Israel, and I
definitely want to get my situation settled in the near future. The thing is
that I also loved the hummus, and because of that and the pitas, I gained about
20lbs [laughing]. I definitely hope to be here also next year.”
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