The NBA regular season is in full swing, college basketball just started; ball is back and The Great Rabbino is excited. Here are the top 10 Jewish stories to watch in the basketball world this season.
10) Day School to the College Game
With two former Jewish day school players in the NCAA (Aaron Liberman at Northwestern and Jacob Susskind at Maryland) has JewBall become a legitimate thing? TGR will keep a close eye on both prospects.
Will we ever see Jordan Farmar back in the NBA? Does some team need a point guard or is this move to the international scene long term?
8) Pastner’s #17 Memphis Tigers
How good can Memphis be? Josh Pastner is finally out of former Memphis head coach John Callapari‘s shadow. What can he do now with his own recruits.
7) Can Jake Cohen Make A Statement?
Last year Jake Cohen led Davidson to the Tournament as a Sophomore. They lost a tough game in the opening round, but Jake became a star. Can he create even more buzz, maybe get a tournament win, and get some NBA team to notice him?
6) Short Man, Big Task
The Detroit Pistons are bad. Can Lawrence Frank make them good? Seriously; if he does he’ll be coach of the year.
5) From Mark Cuban To Micky Arison To… ?
The last two NBA champions have been teams owned by Jews. Can we make it 3 in a row?
4) Larry Brown Is Back
Can the new SMU coach bring the Mustangs some wins? He’s taken bad teams in both the professional and college levels, and turned them around. Can he do it again?
3) A Do-over On College Israelis?
Over the last three years NCAA basketball has seen three (that we know of) Israelis come over to the states: Nimrod Tishman (Florida), Hen Tamir (Jackson State), and Noam Laish (Maine). All three are gone. Will any other Israeli bring their talents to the States after these failed experiments?
2 ) The End Of An Era
NBA commissioner David Stern will retire in 2014, 30 years after taking the job. What impact will his absence have on the rest of the league? Will he make one final imprint, and will it make a difference on the NBA’s future? What impact will his replacement, fellow Jew Adam Silver, have on the game?
1) Omri Casspi’s NBA Future
Israeli superstar Omri Casspi took the NBA by storm in 2009, capturing the attention of not only Jews, but the the entire league! However, since his rookie season, Casspi has been slipping. Will he be able to bounce back? The fate of a (basketball) nation rests on his shoulders.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
A version of this article first appeared on TheGreatRabbino.com.
(Jordan Farmar image courtesy of Jeremy Fine. Omri Casspi image: Wikimedia Commons)