The league is approaching, and the quarterfinals of the Winner's Cup get underway today (21:15, Sport 5+) with a meeting between Hapoel Holon and Hapoel Afula. A good time to examine the transfer market for Israeli players this summer, and to examine what significant steps the local players and teams made during this year's offseason, which centered on young players.
Ben Scharf (Ironi Kiryat Ata)
The intriguing transfer of the season comes not from one of the big teams. Ben Scharf's move to Ironi Kiryat Ata is something that hasn't happened here for many years. Already at the age of 17, the talented point guard is destined to lead a team in the Premier League.
Since the days of Guy Goodes, who played as a leading point guard at Hapoel Haifa in the late 80s, we have never seen a team that puts its trust in such a young player in the most important role on the court.
Last season, Scharf led Elitzur Netanya in the National League, and now he is going to take a leap forward. Israel's future player was debating this summer where to move, with the option of Spain's Juventud Badalona also on the agenda. Nevertheless, he decided that Kiryat Ata, which would give him the position of a leading player at his age, was the right place at this stage, and did not look to go to a bigger team, where he would have been given a less significant role.
Ben Scharf. Received the keys, photo: Liran Moldovan
Tamir Blatt (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Blatt is another one who started his career in the senior ranks at a young age, and today, at the age of only 26, he is already considered a veteran player, having been the leading point guard at Hapoel Jerusalem under Oded Katsch and moved to Alba Berlin to advance to the Euroleague level. Now he arrives at Maccabi Tel Aviv, again under Oded Ketch, only this time it is a significant team in the leading factory.
Blatt knows that on the way to this leap he will have a difficult battle for playing minutes, especially with Wade Baldwin and Lorenzo Brown, two particularly dominant guards, and he will have to find a way to make an impact on the game and the team. It's just not going to be.
Blatt. It's not going to be easy, Photo: Alan Shaver
Itai Moshkovitz (Hapoel Haifa)
After two years at Hapoel Galilee Elion, Moskowitz faced a crossroads this summer - should he go to a team with the aim of leading it, or should he reach a big team like Hapoel Jerusalem that wanted him and become a rotation player?
Moshkovitz, like Ben Scharf, got the stage at a young age at Elitzur Netanya in the National League, and from there he jumped to the top at Hapoel Galilee Elion, where he was also voted the league's most improved player last season.
At the age of 23, the guard decided that what was right for his career was to go through another phase of progress on the way to a big team, a stage in which he would run "engine time" on the court and get his chance on a big team. And this is exactly what Oren Aharoni, the coach of Hapoel Haifa, can give him, who promised him that he would be the central axis of the team built in Carmel.
Moshkovitz. Bet on himself, photo: Maor Elkeslassy
Yuval Zussman (Hapoel Jerusalem)
When Zussman started out at a young age at Maccabi Tel Aviv, it looked like he was going to be yellow for many years. This did not happen, and he switched to another yellow, this time at Alba Berlin, where he played for two years. In the German capital, progress was not significant enough, and the actor was looking for a way to take off again in his career. So he made two significant decisions this summer: to return to Israel, and not to continue in the Euroleague, when he realized that he would not be able to find a place in a significant team there.
Sussmann's big test will be dominance and leadership. Sussmann left the Euroleague to take on a significant role in the capital, and will be measured not only by his professional abilities, but also by how well he can be a leading player.
Sussman. Will he take the chance?, Photo: Oded Karni
Gilad Levy (Hapoel Be'er Sheva)
Decision making is the most important thing for a young player, and Gilad Levy is taking a significant step in his development this summer with the understanding that there is no substitute for playing minutes.
Last summer, Levy, who stands 2.20m tall, signed a long-term contract with Hapoel Jerusalem. The problem was that he wasn't really playing. It was clear to both the player and the team that he had to play and rub off.
The choice fell on Hapoel Be'er Sheva, a place that gives young people a chance, with coach Lior Lyubin, known for the quality of working with players at the beginning of their careers. At least in the preparatory games, Levy showed his potential again, when in the eighth of the Winner's Cup final against Hapoel Eilat he finished with an impressive double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds, helping his team qualify for the quarterfinals, where he will meet Hapoel Jerusalem, and try to prove that it was worth giving him the chance.
Gilad Levy. Need to get minutes, photo: Liran Moldovan
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