"I've made great progress. I am satisfied, but not satisfied. I still have a lot of work to do. I have a lot to prove to myself," says Israeli National League Player of the Year Eitan Borg in an interview with Israel Hayom. From next season he will play in the Premier League and in the coming years hopefully at high peaks: "I am aiming for the Euroleague," he declares, "in the next 5-6 years I believe I will be there. Euroleague is my ultimate goal."
Eitan Burg-Butler (20) by his full name, is a native of Mishmar Shiva, started his professional career in Beit Dagan's basketball team, from there he moved to Maccabi Rishon LeZion, Maccabi Shoham and in the last two seasons plays for Elitzur Netanya in the National League. The guard is one of the most promising players in Israeli basketball, will be promoted to the top division for the first time next season, and is one of the most sought-after Israelis in the transfer market.
Ethan Borg. Recorded a great season, photo: Ilai Aharoni National League Manager
Borg burst into prominence last summer in Oren Aharoni's reserve team. He had a great tournament and the team reached the semi-finals: "It was my first time with the national team, a huge experience," he says.
With the revelation, his personal story immediately surfaced. Borg is the son of singer Eddie Butler, who represented Israel twice at Eurovision. For the first time, he did it with the Eden Band on the song "Happy Birthday", which over the years became a song played almost every birthday.
But the reality was less glamorous. When he was a child, his parents were excited and his father moved to the United States: "My mother Orly raised me alone", this is why he kept his mother's surname: "To give her all the credit and respect, she gave me her all". Regarding the relationship with his father, he says: "I am in contact with my father by phone and we will meet with him when he comes to Israel."
Ethan Borg. Very attached to his mother, photo: Ilai Aharoni
"We could have done well in the Premier League"
After the success in the reserves, he continued to his second season at Elitzur Netanya. A great season in the National League, at the end of which he was voted the Israeli player of the year, to the team of the season, and Netanya, despite a very young lineup, was close to promotion to the league.
His numbers tell of his many qualities: a versatile guard who can do anything on the floor — points from outside the arc, points in basket penetration, passing, defense and rebounding. He averaged 18.2 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
On missing out on the semi-final series against Hapoel Afula, he says: "This is the only team that wasn't dragged into our running game. I guess we paid a price for the fact that we were a little inexperienced, in those moments he speaks."
Ethan Borg. Netanya missed aliyah, photo: Yael Emsili, National League Director
But Borg is also proud: "We had a great season. Who expected that a bunch of 20-year-old players, without high salaries, and with foreigners who came to help us develop, would go this far." Here he surprises and says that if the team had qualified for the First Division it could have succeeded there as well: "With our special core plus 4 foreigners we could have done very big things in the Premier League." Next season he will jump a grade: "It has been a great privilege to be at this club with the coach (Ruben Neiberger) and the system that always has his back."
Borg's career is accompanied by the "Real Player" project (which also manages Elitzur Netanya), Eitan says: "The project puts the actor first. You get the most professional envelope there, including additional training, the mental aspect and the nutrition issue. They give you all the tools you need to go as far as possible."
Who is your model?
"Oded Ketch. I watched a lot of his videos and he was also one of the founders of the project. I got to work with him and talk to him."
Oded Ketch. Role model, photo: Alan Shaver
Where you want to go, a small team with more playing minutes, or a big team where you play less.
"I want to go to a place that believes in me, trusts me and lets me express myself, in return I will give my all. I'm not afraid, I'm not scared to come to a big group. The decision will be made soon."
What are you good at and what would you like to improve?
"Producing from the dribble is my strong suit. I have to learn to play pick and roll better, and how to break down the defense through passing. Of course, I still have a lot of work to do on personal abilities, there's still a lot to improve."
Where can Ben Scharf, who played alongside you this season, go?
"The sky's the limit. It is made of the material of the great players and has all the abilities as well as modesty and hunger. He'll be a high pick in the NBA draft."
The hottest sports articles and updates on your Telegram
Ben Scharf. Will go far, photo: Yael Emsili, National League Director
Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us