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Zack Hankins: "All the teams in Israel gave up on me" | Israel today


The star of Hapoel Jerusalem opens his heart in an interview: "My agent offered me to many teams, only Džikić believed in me" • The past: "After the injury I was devastated and impoverished, I thought I would never play basketball again" • The future: "I want to be the best center in Europe"

When Zak Hankins signed with Hapoel Jerusalem, quite a few question marks hovered over his medical condition and his ability to be the Reds' leading center, after he tore a ligament in his knee and was absent from the courts for a year and a half.

Despite the question marks, within a few weeks the inside player got in shape and soon the question marks turned into exclamation points, and he became the anchor of the Jerusalemites and one of the best centers in the league and the Champions League.

Shortly after winning the State Cup, Hankins gave an exclusive interview to "Israel Today" and provided some interesting headlines.

Stay with us.

How does it feel after winning the state cup?

"An amazing feeling. The trophy showed what this team is capable of, we proved that we are the best team in Israel."

What does this degree mean to you?

"It's a huge achievement. That's why they brought us here, to win titles. A lot of people said we weren't a good enough team to succeed this year, but we proved otherwise."

Did you prove that you are the best chin in Israel?

"That's my goal, there are many good centers in the league, but that's my goal and I think I'm there."

When you signed with the club in the summer, there were quite a few people who doubted your ability to be the leading center of Hapoel Jerusalem because of the injury you suffered.

Did you hear those voices?

"Yes, I heard about it, but I knew what situation I was in and what I was worth, and that gave me another reason to prove my abilities to the critics. The coach told me from the beginning that he trusted me."

Do you feel people don't appreciate you enough?

"Of course, without a doubt."


Not ashamed, photo: Alan Shiver

"I would love to continue another season"

You were sidelined for a year and a half due to an injury, describe to us the rehabilitation process and the feelings you experienced along the way.

"I had two surgeries in two years. It was my mental battle with myself and my body, 'Do I give up basketball or do I believe in myself and keep fighting?'

I heard different opinions from different people, and doctors told me that I would never be able to play basketball again. Continuing to believe was a process that changed me as a person."

Were there moments when you thought you might not play basketball again?

"After I had the first surgery, I sat all day at home on the couch, and I wasn't able to do anything on my own. My wife had to take care of me. Those were hard days, I couldn't even walk and I thought I would never play basketball again. We were devastated, broken, Economically impoverished. We were in a tunnel and did not see the light, today we see the light."

Did you feel like teams were afraid to gamble on you because of the injury after that?

"Many, all the teams in Israel gave me up in the summer. My agent offered me to all of them, only Aleksandar Džikić believed in me."


the only one who believed

Are you aiming to win the championship?

"Yes, we have two more titles we want to win - the national championship and winning the FIBA ​​Champions League.

This is our goal, and we intend to do it."

What are your ambitions for the future?

"Before the injury I thought the sky was the limit, and after the injury I am more sure of it than ever. Every player wants to reach the NBA, including me. Today I want to be the best center in Europe, to leave behind a legacy that will remember me."

There are rumors about your future, do you want to continue here for another season?

"Wherever I am, I will remember Jerusalem as an amazing place that I enjoyed playing in. I would love to continue here for another season, but I don't know yet, we are still at an early stage and we will have to see what happens next."

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2023-02-21

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