Franco steps into Greenberg’s place at Mac Haifa

“I’m very proud of myself that I’m still able to play at this level,” he said. “There are talented young players in the roster and I hope to help them with my experience.

July 22, 2013 23:22
2 minute read.
Danny Franco

Danny Franco 370. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

Danny Franco finally got the chance he had been waiting for on Monday when he was announced as the new coach of reigning Basketball Super League champion Maccabi Haifa.

Franco guided Barak Netanya to the BSL quarterfinals last season in his second year with the club and has a State Cup triumph on his resume from his time at Hapoel Holon (2009).

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He was finally handed a deserved promotion to a bigger club on Monday, with big shoes to fill in Haifa after Brad Greenberg guided the Greens to their first ever championship last season with an upset win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Greenberg joined Hapoel Jerusalem on Saturday after failing to reach an agreement with Haifa on a contract extension.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Jeff Rosen and the entire Maccabi Haifa organization have given me,” said the 39- year-old Franco. “Jeff and his front office staff have already begun to put together an impressive team. It’s an honor to coach the defending Israeli league champions and I’m looking forward to coaching an exciting team this season.

Haifa’s roster will have an almost completely new look next season. Donta Smith is the only foreign player from last season under contract for 2013/2014, with captain Ido Kozikaro also set to remain at the club.

Also Monday, Meir Tapiro joined newly promoted Ironi Ness Ziona on a twoyear contract that will see him play beyond his 40th birthday.

The 38-year-old guard will be playing for his 10th team and will be looking to rebound from a frustrating season at Hapoel Jerusalem.

After two excellent years at Maccabi Ashdod, Tapiro experienced a dramatic decline in Jerusalem and he is hoping to enjoy basketball once more in Ness Ziona.

“I’m very proud of myself that I’m still able to play at this level,” he said. “There are talented young players in the roster and I hope to help them with my experience.

I first and foremost want to enjoy myself. This is Ness Ziona’s first season in the top flight and I’m familiar with this situation from my time at Ashdod. I hope we have as much fun as we did there.”

Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv is set to complete its roster for 2013/2014 in the coming days. Australian forward Joe Ingles is expected to become Maccabi’s sixth and final foreign player, joining the team after three seasons at Barcelona.

After five years, Yotam Halperin is also likely to return to Maccabi. The 29-yearold Israeli guard left Maccabi in 2008 for Olympiacos in Greece, going on to play for Spartak St. Petersburg and Bayern Munich last season.

“I feel like this is the right time to return to Tel Aviv,” he said. “The deal is still not officially done, but it’s a formality.”

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