How it works

The BSL has again changed its format this season by eliminating the best-of-five playoff series.

October 23, 2005 05:08


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How it works: The BSL has again changed its format this season by eliminating the best-of-five playoff series and the semifinal round and replacing them with a single-elimination Final Four tournament on June 6-8. As a result the regular season has been lengthened to 30 games, with each of the 11 teams playing the every other team three times. At the end of the season, the top four clubs will qualify for the Final Four at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, the 10th and 11th place teams will be relegated to the National League and the National League champion will be promoted to the Super League. MACCABI TEL AVIV Coach: Pini Gershon. Home court: Nokia Arena (seats 11,000). Projected starting 5: Will Solomon (27 years, 1.87 meters), Tal Burstein (25, 1.98), Anthony Parker (30, 1.98), Maceo Baston (29, 2.06), Nikola Vujcic (27, 2.11). Key reserves: Derrick Sharp (34, 1.83), Kirk Penney (24, 1.95), Sharon Shason (26, 2.06), Yaniv Green (25, 2.06), Jamie Arnold (30, 2.02), Asaf Dotan (31, 1.94), Omri Casspi (17, 2.03). Last season: 1st place (21-1); Euroleague champs. Best case: Maccabi cruises to its third straight Euroleague title. Worst case: Not the best in Europe or Israel. HAPOEL TEL AVIV Coach: Effi Birenboim. Home court: Nokia Arena (seats 11,000). Projected starting 5: Erez Katz (25, 1.80), Marcus Hatten (24, 1.85), Jeron Roberts (29, 1.94), Gili Mossinson (27, 2.00), Rodger Farrington (29, 2.00). Key reserves: Eran Yitzhak (23, 1.92), Igor Simin (21, 2.00), Mushon Ya'akusi (24, 2.03), Roey Nitzan (32, 2.10), Yiftah Buchman (18, 1.96). Last season: 5th place (12-10), playoff finalists. Best case: Hapoel brings in high-priced big man, who leads way to third straight runner-up finish. Worst case: Team never recovers from Doron Sheffer's pre-season retirement and finishes outside the Final Four. HAPOEL GALIL ELYON-GOLAN Coach: Oren Amiel (Oded Katash is manager). Home court: Kfar Blum (1,600). Projected starting 5: Jason Straight (22, 1.78), Patrick Lee (31, 1.88), Sasa Bratic (24, 2.02), Lior Eliyahu (20, 2.05), Anton Kazarnovski (20, 2.07). Key reserves: Yogev Ohayon (18, 1.87), Avishai Gordon (28, 1.91), Uriel Marko (23, 2.00), Kobi Izik (22, 2.04), Liron Cherna (19, 1.92). Last season: 2nd place (13-9). Best case: Eliyahu is that good, and teams with Ohayon for some old fashioned Galil magic. Worst case: Waiting till last minute to sign players and lack of muscle in the paint costs Katash and co., Galil battles relegation. ELITZUR ASHKELON Coach: Ariel Bet-Halahmi. Home court: Ashkelon Sports Hall (3,000). Projected starting 5: Brian Tolbert (31, 1.88), Adrian Pleder (29, 1.90), Moshe Mizrahi (25, 2.02), Shahar Cohen (30, 2.02), Brandon Kurtz (27, 2.08). Key reserves: Oded Sha'ashoua (23, 1.86), Yehu Orland (24, 1.92), Vlade Yermishim (21, 2.02), Ahiad Bukra (16, 2.02). Last season: 3rd place (13-9). Best case: Bet-Halahmi recruited the right guys from up north, Ashkelon challenges for a Final Four spot. Worst case: No one can recapture the lost energy from point guards Erez Katz and Avi Sukar, short bench leads to bottom third of the table finish. HAPOEL JERUSALEM Coach: Erez Edelstein. Home court: Goldberg Sports Hall, Malcha, Jerusalem (2,200). Projected starting 5: Horace Jenkins (31, 1.86), Roger Mason Jr. (25, 1.96), Tamar Slay (25, 2.04), Mario Austin (23, 2.06), Erez Marckovich (27, 2.08). Key reserves: Meir Tapiro (30, 1.92), Raviv Limonad (21, 1.91), Matan Naor (25, 1.95), Izik Ohanon (25, 2.07), Ido Kozikaro (27, 2.00), Guy Kantor (31, 1.86), Elion Zagury (21, 2.01), Ofir Levi (18, 1.85). Last season: 4th place (12-10). Best case: Edelstein builds more than just an alternative to Maccabi, Hapoel claims at least one title. Worst case: Team implodes under pressure of expectations, Jerusalem inexplicably misses playoffs again. IRONI NAHARIYA Coach: Avi Ashkenazi. Home court: Ein Sarah (2,000). Projected starting 5: Avi Sukar (29, 1.87), Branko Milisavljevic (29, 1.93), Cory Carr (30, 1.93), Jayson Wells (28, 2.02), Otis Hill (31, 2.03). Key reserves: Amit Ben-David (28, 1.90), Eyal Engel (20, 1.90), Barak Peleg (33, 1.94), Ori Kookia (24, 2.02). Last season: 6th place (11-11). Best case: The pride of the north establishes itself as the third best team in Israel. Worst case: Too many new players need too much time to gel, team can't get out of middle of the pack. MACCABI GIVAT SHMUEL Coach: Ronen Ginzberg. Home court: Or Yehuda (1,300). Projected starting 5: Timmy Bowers (23, 1.88), Oren Aharoni (32, 1.88), Alpha Bangura (25, 1.93), Kenny Williams (36, 2.06), Wayne Wallace (25, 2.06). Key reserves: Tamir Goodman (25, 1.91), Dror Davidi (21, 1.92), Moshe Brenner (34, 2.00), Dror Cohen (31, 2.00), Matan Siman-Tov (27, 2.03). Last season: 7th place (10-12). Best case: Givat Shmuel vets Aharoni, Brenner and Cohen, BSL vet Williams and hyped newcomers Bowers, Bangura and Wallace translate into Final Four. Worst case: The vets' legs give out, the newcomers don't pan out, Givat Shmuel drops to bottom third of table. MACCABI RISHON LEZION Coach: Guy Goodes. Home court: Gan Nachum, Rishon Lezion (1,500). Projected starting 5: John Gilchrist (21, 1.87), Ryan Sydney (23, 1.88), Or Eitan (24, 1.98), Omar Sneed (29, 1.99), Lee Mathews (35, 2.03). Key reserves: Moran Roth (23, 1.82), Ofir Farhi (19, 1.87), Matt Minoff (23, 2.00), Tal Dan (18, 1.97), Dudu Asraf (24, 2.00), Chen Ben-Eliyahu (19, 2.06). Last season: 8th place (9-13). Best case: Gilchrist blossoms under Goodes's tutelage, Rishon runs towards top half of table. Worst case: Young, small team struggles early, fights against relegation all season. BNEI HASHARON Coach: Ya'acov Geno. Home court: Jubilee, Herzliya (1,200). Projected starting 5: Terrence Rencher (32, 1.92), Cookie Belcher (27, 1.91), Guy Pnini (22, 2.00), Ugonna Onyekwe (26, 2.03), Ousmane Cisse (23, 2.06). Key reserves: Yaron Lahat (29, 1.85), Erez Kohansky (21, 1.96), Vitali Fliegel (22, 2.00), Yaron Rokni (30, 2.01), Nitzan Hanochi (19, 1.91). Last season: 9th place (9-13). Best case: The unknown Africans prove to be steals and together with veteran backcourt Bnei Hasharon challenges for Final Four spot. Worst case: Can't win with short bench, talented team collapses in fourth quarters and remains among the bottom third in league. THESE GUYS WILL BE MISSED Last season's stars who have moved on: Sarunas Jasikevicius (29, 1.93) from Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Indiana Pacers; Yotam Halperin (22, 1.93) from Maccabi Tel Aviv to Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia); Gur Shelef (32, 2.01) from Maccabi Tel Aviv to Racing Basket Antwerp (Belgium); Ori Ichaki (24, 1.93) from Bnei Hasharon to Pivovarna Lasko (Slovenia); Israel Sheinfeld (29, 2.08) from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Olimpia Larisa (Greece); Shahar Gordon (25, 2.08) from Ramat Hasharon to BC Kiev (Ukraine). RAMAT HASHARON Coach: Roni Bosani. Home court: Kiryat Hatziryim, Ramat Hasharon (1,000). Projected starting 5: Albert Mouring (26, 1.91), Jeremy Veal (29, 1.91), Elad Inbar (27, 2.01), Terrence Shannon (25, 2.03), John Oden (25, 2.06). Key reserves: Roey Berkowitz (23, 1.80), Niv Berkowitz (19, 1.90), Elad Eliyahu (20, 1.93), Tomer Atlas (30, 2.00), Jonathan Skj ldebrand (22, 2.04), Shai Karbiov (26, 2.06), Gil Bash (18, 1.93). Last season: 10th place (9-13). Best case: Young players take advantage of opportunities, foreigners prove to be keepers and Ramat Hasharon doesn't need to worry about relegation. Worst case: No leadership, no chemistry, no fans and no more room for Ramat Hasharon in the BSL. IRONI RAMAT GAN Coach: Dani Franco. Home court: Zisman (1,000). Projected starting 5: Jason Gardner (25, 1.78), Kevin Rice (30, 1.93), Itai Lev (25, 2.02), Kei Madison (26, 2.06), Tunji Awojobi (32, 2.02). Key reserves: Avi Ben-Chimol (20, 1.95), Elishai Cadir (17, 2.02), Andrej Zelenbaba (33, 2.03), Yoni Nir (19, 2.03), Itai Greenboim (20, 1.93), Roy Goffer (27, 1.90). Last season: National league runners-up. Best case: Gardner and Awojobi resurrect careers after injuries and carry Ramat Gan to top half of league. Worst case: Ramat Gan returns to the National League after a brief absence. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES These players hung up their jerseys for good over the summer: Doron Sheffer (33, 1.95) became the first Israeli ever drafted in the NBA and was voted one of the 50 greatest Israeli players of all time; Amir Muhtari (33, 2.08) was a teammate of Sheffer's on both the 1993 Galil Elyon league championship side and the 2004 Hapoel Jerusalem ULEB Cup winning team.

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