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Sean Jones: "Wants to be one of the best centers in Europe" | Israel today


Returning to Israel: "I was happy to receive a call" • The difficulty with criticism: "They underestimated me all the way" • And the confidence: "I know what I'm capable of" • Tonight, the ex meets Maccabi Tel Aviv

One of the most intriguing teams this season in the Premier League is Hapoel Haifa.

The Reds from Carmel started the season in a positive way, and even made history for the club in Europe when they passed a stage in the Eurocup factory.

Despite the success, the team did not hesitate and landed the center Sean Jones, former Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon in a surprising move.

Just before the intriguing meeting against Maccabi Tel Aviv this evening, the American winger made time to give his first and exclusive interview in the Hapoel Haifa uniform to Israel Hayom.

Shawn, how does it feel to be back in Israel?

"It's about a place and a league that I really liked playing in, so it's a good experience for me to return to a place where I felt good and belonged. I was happy to receive the call from Israel."

Sean Jones (left) in Hapoel Jerusalem uniform,

Why did you leave Poland?

"I suffered from an injury and I realized that the amount of offers I had in the summer decreased significantly. I preferred to stay there with the option of leaving the contract in order to recover, and to have a platform to show my abilities again when I'm healthy."

The face player (30, 2.03 m) is remembered by basketball fans in Israel from his time in two different terms, in the red of Jerusalem in the 2016/17 season and in the purple of Holon in the 2018/19 season.

The center started the past season in Polish Starguard, where he averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in the league.

A lot of people remembered you from Jerusalem and Holon, but in recent years you kind of disappeared from our radar, what happened?

"The injuries I suffered were not easy and hindered my progress. No team wants an injured player, I believe that everything happens for the best, but teams were afraid to bet on me and invest in me because of the fear of my condition. People underestimated me all the way, from the beginning of my career until now, and this is what gives me Motivation every time I step on the floor, that's how I turn something negative into a positive."

Sean Jones.

Again in Israel, photo: FIFA

It seems that the review hurt you personally.

"People said that I will never be the same player again or that I am a 'finished' player without understanding what I went through. These things hurt, the injuries I went through would cause many players to retire, it's not that my body gave up. Even when I signed in Israel I read what people wrote about me and the criticism It was, but it only makes me stronger. I know who I am and what I'm capable of, and I'm determined to prove it again to everyone who underestimates me. I want to prove to everyone that I'm back."

Sean Jones in a Holon uniform.

again in Israel,

Do you think you might have hit your peak now at 30?

"My goal when I came back from the injury was to come back this season and be the best version of myself, I want to show all the teams in Europe that I'm back to myself, to how I was before the injury."

If you hadn't been injured, where do you think you could have gone in your career?

"My goal all along and even now is to reach the Euroleague, that hasn't changed. I want to be one of the best centers in Europe. I want to be a valued center in Europe to get back to the situation I was in before the injury."

How is today's Sean different from the player we saw here before?

"I'm much more mature and confident in myself. I've been playing for enough years and I've been through enough things to know what's expected of me and how I can contribute. I'm sure that today I'm a much better player than my old version."

Is returning to Jerusalem or Holon an option for you in the future?

"Of course, everything is possible. I'm always open to the possibility of returning to the places I've been in the past. I have a warm place in my heart for these two teams."

There is a lot of talk about the pressure in these clubs.

As someone who played there, how did it feel?

"It's undoubtedly not easy, certainly for a young player, but in every team I played in there was pressure and a desire to win. Pressure brings out the best in players, in my opinion."

Maccabi players are happy against Hapoel Haifa.

Will the celebration continue tonight as well?, Photo: Oded Karni

Do you think Hapoel Haifa can compete for titles this year?

"Without a doubt, there is a very talented staff here. If we continue to work hard and stay connected, we can achieve beautiful things."

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2023-01-03

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