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Joe Ragland and the champion Hapoel Holon open a European season: "We have nothing to prove" | Israel today


The coordinator continues in purple, and already feels at home: "I love you guys like crazy" • Satisfied with the new squad: "Very diverse" • Still hungry at the age of 32 and in his third season in Israel: "Wants to try to win another championship" • Tomorrow (Monday, 6:30 p.m.) to Gia and Warsaw Waiting at the opening of the group stage of the Champions League

Hapoel Holon entered this summer after winning the second championship in its history.

Her main goal was to keep the skeleton of the players that carried her to the achievement, along with strengthening the missing places.

The club worked hard to keep center Joe Ragland, who was a significant factor in the championship, and finally succeeded in the task and he extended his contract for two more years.

Joe, tell us about the decision to continue with Hapoel Holon.

"For me it was a great opportunity to feel at home. I love the city, the club and my environment here, and I want to try to win the championship again. The odds are not in our favor, but I'm ready for the challenge."

The team has undergone changes in the summer, do you feel that you are expected to lead?

"In every team I played in my career I was one of the leaders, so for me it's natural. I will continue to do what I do on the field, depending on what the coach asks of me."

Ragland had a long and distinguished career before landing in Israel, and along the way he played in Murcia, Canto, Milan, Karsiaka, Koban and Kochav Adom, before landing in Hapoel Eilat, and from there he moved to Holon as one of the best foreigners in the league.

You have had a lot of ups and downs in the preparation games so far, how do you summarize?

"We had quite a few players who dealt with injuries, and the coach wasn't with us at the beginning of the preparation, that's why we lost a few games. Despite that, we also had good moments, we're still getting to know the new teammates, we know we'll be good at the moment of truth."

Joe Ragland against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

"We will be good at the moment of truth", photo: Alan Shiver

What do you think of the new squad built here this summer?

"Very diverse. We have a lot of size this season in the interior positions alongside talented guards."

You lost important players this summer who left like Tyrus Magee, Rafi Manko and Guy Panini.

How will their lack affect?

"It won't affect us. Life goes on, we have to continue with the tools we have and move forward."

Hapoel Holon comes into the upcoming season as champion, how will you deal with the expectations?

"Honestly, I don't feel pressure. Because we have already won the championship, there is no pressure on us, we won and we have already proven what we are worth. Now our rivals will have to prove themselves against us."

Any thoughts on the day after basketball?

"Always. I'm 32 years old, entering my 11th season as a professional player and basketball has been my greatest love since childhood. I study and study the game every day and would like to coach in the future. Until then, I want to continue playing at the highest levels and show good ability, so I'm taking care of myself and my body.

"I don't want to retire before I feel that I have achieved and realized all my abilities, I train and work every day in the best way in order to continue to learn, improve and take advantage of every day."

Describe to us your relationship with Guy Goodes.

"We have a great relationship. He believes in me and I'm happy about that and is doing everything I can to make us win. My goal is to present his vision and method on the field and carry it out."


"I don't want to retire before I feel that I have achieved and realized all my abilities", photo: Barney Ardov

You had a great career and played in big teams, do you feel like you missed out on not making it to the NBA?

"Today, at my age, I understand that this is a league for young people, I no longer pursue this dream. I think that I didn't do everything I could in the past to get there, I didn't give it a real chance. Today, I'm satisfied with my place and the career I've achieved."

Finally, do you have a message for Holon fans?

"I love you guys like crazy and know that you will always be there for us."

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-10-02

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