Omri Casspi smiling 248.88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Omri Casspi is just the latest in a list of Maccabi Tel Aviv players to have made the switch to the NBA in recent seasons.
Anthony Parker, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Maceo Baston and Will Bynum, to mention a few, all left Maccabi for NBA teams in the past few years, with Beno Udrih another player to have upgraded his career in Tel Aviv before eventually moving across the Atlantic in 2004.
The Slovenian guard was selected with the 28th pick in the 2004 draft by the San Antonio Spurs and later that season helped the team win the NBA title.
Udrih joined the Sacramento Kings in the 2007/08 season and has blossomed at the team in the past two years, averaging 11.0 points and 4.7 assists in 31.1 minutes on court last season.
Surely, Casspi would gladly settle for an NBA career as successful as Udrih's, but in the meantime he will be able to benefit from his new teammate's advice.
"I heard about Omri's capabilities and I wish him all the best and will try and help him," Udrih told The Israel Post. "I certainly think Sacramento is a good stage for Omri because the rookie season is mainly about learning how things work in the NBA.
"Everything is different and difficult in your first season, but it all depends on working hard and having the will to learn and progress."
Udrih played just one season at Maccabi and despite struggling for large parts of it he now makes more than $5.5 million at Sacramento.
"I enjoyed my time at Maccabi, but I remember there was a lot of pressure and criticism," he said.
"Omri did nice things in Europe and I've heard good things about him as a player and as a person. But the intensiveness and the burden of playing in the NBA are much greater and he will need to know how to handle this. Omri will have to compete night after night with the best players in the world."