Basketball: Emotional Halperin says goodbye to Maccabi, heads to Olympiacos

Halperin won't be away in Greece for long, as once again he's set to be at the center of the national team's qualifying campaign for the European Championships.

By
June 27, 2008 00:01
1 minute read.

Yotam Halperin left for Athens on Thursday morning to complete his move from Maccabi Tel Aviv to Olympiacos. The 24-year-old guard, who officially became an Olympiacos player after successfully passing a medical, has spent his entire career at Maccabi, aside from one season on loan at Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana. "It will be strange at the beginning, but I'm sure I will get used to it after a game or two," Halperin said of playing in Olympiacos' red shirt. "I will always wish Maccabi the very best and that they will win the championship and the cup and reach the Euroleague final against Olympiacos." The Greek giant has invested heavily in the off-season, with Maccabi's Nikola Vujcic and Euroleague superstar Theodoros Papaloukas also to be part of the club's roster next season. "Olympiacos are building something very special and I'm very happy to be part of it. This team can go very far next season," Halperin said. "I grew up at Maccabi and one day I'll return to the club. I have an opportunity to experience something amazing and I thank Maccabi for allowing me to do so." Halperin won't be away in Greece for long, as once again he's set to be at the center of the national team's qualifying campaign for the European Championships. The team will begin training in Israel on July 23, with the first qualifier to be played against Great Britain on September 3 at the Nokia Arena. Israel's Group D also includes the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two players, however, who will likely not be part of the team despite being named in the 17-man roster, are Lior Eliyahu and Dror Hagag. Eliyahu, who clashed with Tzvika Sherf at Maccabi last season, is refusing to play for Israel as long as Sherf remains at the helm. Eliyahu is expected to face a disciplinary committee should he not change his decision. The 29-year-old Hagag, who moved from Hapoel Jerusalem to Maccabi Tel Aviv last week, announced his retirement from the national team, claiming personal reasons prevent him from representing the country this summer.


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