Shivek takes control of Israeli basketball

Mac TA now 19-1 in Adriatic League after Vrsac rout; Rishon runs over Netanya.

ARIK SHIVEK 390 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Arik Shivek was handed the reins to lead Israeli basketball to a brighter future on Monday, when it was announced that he has been given a four-year contract extension as coach of the national team as well as being put in charge of revamping the Israel Basketball Association’s professional department.
Shivek has guided the blue-and-white over the past two years, leading it to a 10th straight EuroBasket appearance in Lithuania last summer in which the national team failed to progress to the last 12.
Nevertheless, he clearly did more than enough to convince new IBA chairman Avner Kopel that he is the right man to guide the national team forward and can help rebuild the country’s youth infrastructure following recent disappointments.
“Our goals remain the same, we want to reach the European Championships again,” said Shivek, who is expected to inquire with New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar if he has any interest in representing the blue-and-white.
“We will try to build the best team possible and we will look into all our options, including Jordan Farmar.”
Israel faces perennial powerhouse Serbia, up-and-coming Montenegro as well as the weaker Slovakia, Estonia and Iceland in Group A of EuroBasket 2013 qualification.
The top two teams from the six qualifying groups and the four best thirdplaced sides will advance to EuroBasket 2013.
The qualifiers will take place between August 15 and September 11.
In the meantime, Shivek is already turning his focus to his new responsibilities as the head of the professional department, which he will officially take over when he leaves his job as coach of Belgian side Dexia Mons- Hainaut in June.
“We hope to create something which hasn’t existed in the IBA until now,” Shivek said. “Unfortunately, our youth teams have dropped to Division B. This process will take time, but we hope to get all our sides back into Division A.
We are not hiding from this goal.
“We plan to operate a scouting department throughout the world to try and locate Jewish players as I feel that this is something which is currently being neglected. I know everyone would like to see quick results, but this is a deep process. If we do it properly we will see results.”
The IBA also announced on Monday that Ironi Ashkelon coach Eric Alfasi will replace Oded Katash as one of Shivek’s assistant.
Hapoel Jerusalem coach Sharon Drucker will guide the under-20 team, Ariel Beit-Halachmi was put in charge of the under-18’s, while Yakov Gino will coach the under-16’s.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv improved to 19-1 in the Adriatic League on Monday night, beating Vrsac of Serbia 85-64 at Nokia Arena.
Lior Eliyahu had 28 points and seven rebounds, with Richard Hendrix adding 25 points and eight boards for Maccabi, which had little trouble clinching the win 24 hours after defeating Maccabi Haifa in BSL action and two days before it visits Barcelona in the Euroleague.
In BSL action, Maccabi Rishon Lezion improved to 10-6 on the season with its sixth win in seven league games on Monday, defeating Barak Netanya 80-65 on the road.
Nitzan Hanochi ended the game with a season-high 21 points, including five threes, with Brandon Bowman adding 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Adrian Banks had 20 points for Netanya, which lost for the fifth time in six games.