(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Erez Edelstein was officially named as the new coach of the Israel national basketball team on Wednesday, bringing to an end a farce that further tainted the Israel Basketball Association’s reputation and caused the coach unwarranted embarrassment.
David Blatt, Pini Gershon and Tzvika Sherf were all offered the position before the IBA’s professional committee finally unanimously recommended Edelstein for the role last Thursday.
Sherf withdrew his name as a candidate only hours before the professional committee convened after it be became apparent that he would not be able to coach the blue-and-white while retaining his position on the IBA board.
“I’m happy that I was appointed to this important and prestigious role and it is a great honor for me to join the list of the great coaches who guided the national team,” Edelstein said. “There is plenty of work to be done and time is short. I’m looking forward to this big challenge and believe that with hard work and commitment we will lead the national team to the European Championships again.”
Edelstein, who has yet to decide if he will continue in his role as Hapoel Tel Aviv coach next season, will replace Arik Shivek, who guided the team in the past four years. Israel reached the past two EuroBasket tournaments under Shivek’s guidance, but failed to progress past the first round in both championships, finishing bottom of Group A with a 1-4 record last summer.
Israel will face Montenegro, Bulgaria and Netherlands in Group B of EuroBasket 2015 qualification, with the games to be played between August 10 and 27.
“Erez is undoubtedly a very talented coach who is fit for the position,” said IBA chairman Dan Halutz. “The IBA will afford him the ideal conditions ahead of the upcoming mission to qualify for EuroBasket 2015.”