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MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Devin Smith 370.(Photo by: Adi Avishai)
Mac TA inks Shermadini to jump start off-season action
Maccabi Tel Aviv began yet another rebuilding process on Tuesday, signing Georgian center Giorgi Shermadini.
The first sign of summer is here.

Maccabi Tel Aviv began yet another rebuilding process on Tuesday, signing Georgian center Giorgi Shermadini.

The 23-year-old 2.16-meter giant joins from Italian club Bennet Cantu after a breakthrough season, impressing especially in a pair of Euroleague Top 16 games against Maccabi.

Shermadini averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds over 16 Euroleague games as the backup center for Cantu, registering 14.0 points, 7.5 boards and 3.0 assists against Maccabi.

“Shermadini is a very active player in the paint with a good sense for offensive rebounds and with an excellent shot, both from mid-range and the free-throw line,” a Maccabi press release read.

“He’s a superb pick-and-roll player and has an impressive presence on defense.”

If Shermadini can do even half of what Maccabi is building him up to be, the yellow-and-blue has made an excellent deal.

The Georgian is expected to carry a heavy load with Greek center Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Richard Hendrix all but certain to leave after two seasons and fellow big-man Shawn James still waiting to hear whether he’ll be back.

Even if James should continue, Maccabi will want to bring in another center, preferably one in the mold of Sofo, considering the lanky Shermadini and James could struggle to defend Europe’s sturdier big-men.

Much of the rest of the rebuilding of the roster will depend on the decision made by guard Keith Langford next week.

Maccabi has exercised its option to keep the American with the team, but Langford can still buy-out his contract by next Friday for a relatively low sum and take a better offer elsewhere.

Yogev Ohayon, Guy Pnini, Devin Smith and Lior Eliyahu are all guaranteed to continue, while Yotam Halperin looks certain to return home after four seasons abroad.

Maccabi’s biggest problem will be replacing David Blu, who announced he is taking the next few months off to pursue media studies in the US.

Blu was not only a key cog in coach David Blatt’s teams, but he is also an Israeli citizen and leaves a massive void.

Assuming Langford stays, coach Blatt would have three more empty spots to fill on his roster, a guard, forward and center.

All three could be foreigners, although Blatt may also target a naturalized Israeli like Sylven Landesberg to try and fill Blu’s shoes.
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