Jerusalem make the coaching change official, bring back fan favorite Braimoh
JERUSALEM (Israel) - They are writing down a new page in the club's history books, but the goal remains the same. Strong coaching name, unlimited offensive potential, a huge fan base to take Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem all the way to the top.
Oren Amiel started the season as the coach, but an 0-3 start to the BCL season saw him part ways with the club. Yotam Halperin was announced as his successor, moving from the front office to the bench. Halperin is 37, one of the biggest stars of Israeli basketball during his playing days from 2001 to 2018, having spent the last five of those years with Jerusalem.
Taking the bench of Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem in 2021 is his first head coaching job.
Here's what Halperin has for the rest of 2021-22 season:
On December 2, it was official that Suleiman Braimoh is making a comeback. The Nigerian-American power forward spent a couple of years with Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem from 2019 to 2021, becoming a fan favorite before leaving to Spain.
He signed with the back-to-back champions Hereda San Pablo Burgos, but it did not work out as planned. After Burgos went into their coaching change, Braimoh left for Israel once more, booking another contract with Jerusalem.
Last season, he averaged 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the BCL. In 2021-22, he only had one double digit game with Burgos, getting 16 points against EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
View this post on Instagram
The club announced on September 8 that Kaiser Gates joined Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Gates is 24 and stands at 6'7''/2.01m, he can help in both forward positions and has made a name for himself in the NBA G League.
That's because Gates is a member of the frequent flyer club, dunking down numerous poster dunks for Windy City Bulls, Maine Red Claws and Long Island Nets. He went through Xavier's NCAA program, and playing in Jerusalem will be his first overseas experience. Gates played for the USA national team in the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers.
View this post on Instagram
Here's what Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem have been up to previously:
Wednesday, August 25 proved to be one of the busiest in front office history, as Jerusalem announced not one, not two, but three former NBA players joining the squad.
Thon Maker was the 10th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and the 24-year-old amassed 263 games over the last five seasons, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers. He also played in 16 NBA Playoffs games.
Maker is a seven-footer (2.13m), represented Australia in his career, and has South Sudanese citizenship as well. Playing in front of Jerusalem fans every week will be his first overseas experience since playing high school basketball back in Australia.
View this post on Instagram
Anthony Bennett has previous European experienced, as he was a part of the Fenerbahce squad in 2016-17. Back in 2013, he was the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft, selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and spent 151 games with Cavs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets.
Bennett played for the Canadian national team during the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Victoria, Canada, but could not help the hosts book a ticket to the Olympics.
With Bennett and Maker taking care of the frontcourt, the backcourt belongs to Sean Kilpatrick. The 31-year-old came through the Cincinnati Bearcats program in the NCAA, and got his first NBA shot as an undrafted player with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015.
Kilpatrick went on to play 157 games in the League, enjoying his best with the Brooklyn Nets in 2015-16 and 2016-17, averaging more than 13 points, mostly coming off the bench. Kilpatrick has been in Europe since 2019, getting minutes in Panathinaikos, Buducnost, Tofas and Gran Canaria.
His partner in crime as the other guard will be Retin Obasohan. The 28-year-old from Antwerp, Belgium already collaborated with coach Amiel in Nymburk last season, getting into MVP talks in the BCL by averaging 13.9 points, 5.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
Obasohan is a good writer, too. He showed it during the Final 8 build-up last season, explaining his vision over sight mantra that got him through all the ups and downs of his career so far.
Another new face in the backcourt is Jalen Adams. He's 25, covers the point guard position, spent four years at UConn, and got his first taste of professional basketball with Erie BayHawks in 2019-20, before making the trip across the pond to Chalons-Reims.
Adams only played in seven games in France, but showed how effective he could be, averaging 20.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He was the top scorer of the French League at the time, but then went back to BayHawks in January 2021.
A more familiar name in BCL terms in Willy Workman. The 31-year-old forward is a player who reflects his last name, reading the defenses and finding ways to finish around the rim with his athleticism. Workman comes from an Israeli family from Massachusetts and has Israeli citizenship.
He first arrived to Israel in 2013, and never looked back, reaching the highest point of his career last season, when he was a crucial part in Hapoel Unet Credit Holon's ride towards the Quarter-Finals of the BCL.
A couple of domestic players born in 1995 also made the switch to Jerusalem. Amit Gershon is a shooting guard, stands at 6'3''/1.91m and this will be the fourth Hapoel of his career, having previously played for Afula, Beer Sheva and Gilboa Galil. Itay Segev in a 6'8''/2.03m tall player who covers the power forward and center positions, and spent the first six years of his professional career with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He has international experience from BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque in 2020-21.