BSL’s best ready for showcase in Eilat

Israelis aim to maintain supremacy over foreigners in All-Star game • Rishon still alive in Europe.

Maccabi Rishon Lezion guard Shawn Dawson (photo credit: ODED KARNI)
Maccabi Rishon Lezion guard Shawn Dawson
(photo credit: ODED KARNI)
The cream of the crop in the BSL will converge on Eilat on Friday for the annual All-Star game.
The Israelis look to continue their dominance over the foreigners, having won four of five All-Star games since the tradition was renewed in 2011, claiming a 122-121 overtime victory in Holon last year.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion guard Shawn Dawson was the leading vote-getter this year, with the popular 22-year-old guard averaging 14.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists for Rishon, which fell to a 12-12 record with Sunday’s 103-94 defeat to Hapoel Tel Aviv.
However, Rishon bounced back in impressive fashion, continuing its surprising European campaign by tying the best-ofthree Europe Cup quarterfinal series against Skyliners Frankfurt at 1-1 with an 88-84 overtime win on Wednesday.
Darryl Monroe, who will also play in the All-Star, led Rishon with 28 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, with Dawson finishing with 19 points.
The third and decisive game will be played in Frankfurt next Thursday where the hosts triumphed by 35 points in Game 1.
Second to Dawson in the All- Star voting was veteran guard Meir Tapiro who will make his sixth consecutive All-Star appearance, three days before his 41st birthday. Tapiro hasn’t missed an All-Star game in the past decade, an honor he shares only with Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu.
The Israelis will be guided by Hapoel Jerusalem coach Danny Franco and Maccabi Haifa coach Rami Hadar, with the roster to also include: Niv Berkowitz (Ironi Nahariya), Yuval Naimi (Ironi Ness Ziona), Raviv Limonad (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Gal Mekel (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Jonathan Skjoldebrand (Maccabi Ashdod), Elishay Kadir (Hapoel Eilat), Afik Nissim (Hapoel Eilat), Isaac Rosefelt (Hapoel Holon), Oz Blayzer (Maccabi Haifa) and Aviram Zelikovic (Bnei Herzliya).
Hapoel Jerusalem forward Donta Smith led voting among the foreigners, who will be guided by Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Zan Tabak and Bnei Herzliya coach Micky Gorka.
Smith will be making his fourth straight All-Star appearance, with the foreign roster also including: Will Clyburn (Hapoel Holon), Gregory Vargas (Maccabi Haifa), Khalif Wyatt (Hapoel Eilat), Alade Aminu (Hapoel Eilat), Dragan Bender (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Drew Crawford (Bnei Herzliya), Marco Killingsworth (Maccabi Kiryat Gat), Isaiah Swann (Maccabi Ashdod), John Williamson (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Darryl Monroe (Maccabi Rishon Lezion), Michael Umeh (Ironi Nahariya) and Sundiata Gaines (Ironi Ness Ziona).
Bender replaced injured Maccabi teammate Devin Smith, while Williamson took the place of Tre Simmons.
Every club in the league is represented in both rosters, with Eilat having two players on each team.
Williamson will also take part in the dunk contest together with Diante Garrett (Maccabi Ashdod), Gilbert Brown (Ironi Nahariya) and Israeli Karam Mashour (Bnei Herzliya).
The three-point competition will be contested between Afik Nissim, Amit Simhon (Hapoel Eilat), Isaiah Swann (Maccabi Ashdod), Yotam Halperin (Hapoel Jerusalem), Aviram Zelikovic (Bnei Herzliya), Yuval Naimi (Ironi Ness Ziona), Guy Pnini (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and Michael Umeh (Ironi Nahariya).