Maccabi Tel Aviv players.
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
In Israel Basketball action, Maccabi Tel Aviv faces Anadolu Efes Tuesday night in Turkey on Gameday 8 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and will have a new face on the sidelines as Greek Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos takes over the reins from Neven Spahija.
The yellow-and-blue are coming off a loss to Gran Canaria 84-78 in the Canary Islands, which dropped their continental record to 1-6 with four losses in a row. Michael Roll led Maccabi with 15 points, while DeAndre Kane and Alex Tyus each added 13 as Scottie Wilbekin had 11 for the visitors. Maccabi only led once in the final 36 minutes, 65-68 midway through the fourth quarter but Anzejs Pasecniks and Eulis Baez stepped up, leading a 14-6 run that sealed the win for the hosts. Alex Tyus summed up the contest, “It was a tough game. We turned the ball over too much and we have to be better on defense.”
Anadolu sit in fifth place with a record of 5-2, having won two games in row, defeating Gran Canaria and Panathinaikos. Adrien Moerman leads the team in scoring and rebounds with 13.4 and 6.7, respectively, while point guard Rodrigue Beaubois is dropping 12.4 points per game and dishing out 3.3 assists.
Sfairopoulos arrives at Maccabi after spending the last four seasons with Olympiacos in Greece. The 51-year-old coach took the Piraeus-based club to a pair of Euroleague Final Four appearances in 2015, where they defeated CSKA Moscow in the semifinals but succumbed to Real Madrid in the finals, and in 2017, where again Sfairopoulos defeated CSKA Moscow in the semis, but fell to Fenerbahce in the one game final.
The Thessaloniki-born boss won the Greek League championship in 2015 and 2016, and was an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets of the NBA in 2012. Between 2012 and 2014, Sfairopoulos was the head coach at the Athens-based Panionios club and also has an Israeli connection serving as Zvika Sherf’s assistant with PAOK Thessaloniki in 1998-99, as well as under Pini Gershon at Olympiacos a decade ago.
The yellow-and-blue’s new head coach said upon his appointment, “I’m very proud to now be a part of such a big club with a glorious tradition like Maccabi Tel Aviv. I want to tell the fans that I will do everything in my power to succeed, and now’s the time to work hard together with the players in order to change the situation that the club is in. We will fight together and they have to be ready to give 100%, each and every one of them.”
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