Sports News

Behind The Scenes

‍‍2015-02-12 10:00:40 - כח כסלו תשעה lbridwell

Video coordinator Jonathan Trock stays focused on the action during a recent game. (Gary Trock)

Video coordinator Jonathan Trock stays focused on the action during a recent game.
(Gary Trock)

The Terps’ basketball student managers, in their red-collared Under Armour shirts tucked into black pants, Gatorade bottles and towels at the ready, work hard to make sure that the team can focus on playing, at home and away.

Head student manager Benjamin Eidelberg of Pikesville is in charge of making things run. Whether it’s putting out the players’ gear, filling Gatorade coolers or placing a bubble on top of a hoop for box-out drills, Eidelberg and his team of 11 student managers make sure it gets done on time and to the liking of head coach Mark Turgeon.

“We’re here an hour to an hour-and-a-half before practice starts to make sure anything [the team] needs for practice is ready, so when it comes to practice time, it’s not, ‘Oh, wait we need this.’ It’s already there,” said Eidelberg.

Becoming head manager of a Division I basketball team is an earned position. Eidelberg, who celebrated his bar mitzvah at Beth Tfiloh Congregation, began his journey during his senior year at McDonogh School when he chose to intern with the NBA’s Washington Wizards for six weeks.

That experience helped him when a month into his freshman year at the University of Maryland, Eidelberg applied to be a part of the student management team. His official assignment was to record practices, sitting up in Section 215 of the Xfinity Center by himself capturing footage.

His duties have since been taken over by student managers Chris Shields, sophomore, and Alex D’alessio, freshman; they assist video coordinator Jonathan Trock, who hails from Scarsdale, N.Y., where his family attends Temple Israel Center in White Plains.

Each year, Eidelberg took on more responsibilities until, as ranking senior, he was named head student manager.

But the title is bittersweet.

“Honestly, it would have been Zach,” he said referring to his friend Zach Lederer, who passed away last year after a second battle with brain cancer. The “Zaching” pose he inspired went viral as everyday people, athletes and even ESPN commentators posted photos of their strong man pose. A mural in Lederer’s honor adorns the wall of the manager’s room.

Eidelberg takes the role seriously, at home and on the road. When the Terps travel they take three student managers. Eidelberg, who admits to having some influence, tries to divide up the road games fairly so managers who have put in their time have an opportunity to travel.

Trock, who graduated from the University of Miami in 2012, joined the Terps in fall 2013. Like Eidelberg, he took a similar route on his way to Hurricanes head manager. As the Terps’ video coordinator, it’s Trock’s job to cut five to 10 games down into 10-minute videos “to give our student-athletes as much information as possible without being overwhelming.” The student-athletes, in compliance with NCAA rules, review the footage with their coaches before practices.

“Coach Turgeon is very detailed, very meticulous,” said Trock. “He’ll ask for something and I’ll have no idea why he’s asking for it, but when he explains it to the team, he points out the smallest detail and I’ll understand why.”

To see players translate that information into a move during a Big Ten game is incredible to see, he added.

Being a part of the Big Ten has opened up new opportunities for the basketball staff, not just to see other courts and meet other managers, but to get in on the action, too. The Big Ten managers have a tradition of fielding five-on-five games, which they take quite seriously, tweeting out results as @B1GManagerHoops. As of Feb. 9, Maryland managers (@TerpsBballMgrs) rank seventh with a 4-3 record.

“Our first trip, we got to Michigan State and I heard that one of their managers asked if we wanted to play,” said Eidelberg. “We played, Juan played, some of the [graduate assistants] played.”

Juan, of course, referred to the legendary Maryland alumnus of the 2002 championship team, Juan Dixon.

“When Juan became more involved with the team, it was like, ‘Wow, this is Juan Dixon,’” said Eidelberg. “In my mind, he’s been the face of Maryland basketball.”

He added, “I remember the first time I played against him, I went home, I texted my parents and my friends that I played with Juan Dixon. Now it’s just normal. My childhood hero and I can talk like normal [people].”

Dixon and the coaches have a great relationship with the student managers, which has carried over to the players, Eidelberg emphasized.

“You’re not on the team, but you’re a part of the team,” he said. “They’re very cohesive, very welcoming. It’s not just, ‘Oh, these are the managers who are supposed to be doing stuff for us.’ They treat us as equals.”

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Israel Surprises in World Championship Debut

‍‍2014-07-21 17:51:41 - יז טבת תשעד hnorris

Team Israel wrapped up a strong World Lacrosse Championship debut late last week with a seventh-place finish.
The team clinched the seventh spot with a 15-10 win over Japan on Friday, July 18. After falling behind 5-4 at halftime, Israel stormed back in the second half of its final match of the championships. Ari Sussman, who was the tournament’s second-highest scorer, scored a game-high five goals against Japan, and goalie Henry Altschuler played almost three quarters and turned back nine shots for the win.
The Israeli team finished the tournament atop its division with a 6-2 overall record.

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Israel Lacrosse Improves to 5-0 in World Championship

‍‍2014-07-16 10:53:04 - יז טבת תשעד hnorris

Photo provided

Henry Altschuler made seven saves through 60 minutes of action on Tuesday against Germany.

The Israel national lacrosse team secured a top-eight finish in the FIL World Lacrosse Championship and a spot in the quarterfinals Tuesday with a 15-1 win over 6th-ranked Germany.
Attackman Ari Sussman, who leads the tournament with 30 points, netted three goals and two assists in the Germany match while Matthew Cherry (four goals, one assist) and Noach Miller (three goals) provided additional support for team Israel. Henry Altschuler made seven saves and allowed no goals in 60 minutes to earn the win in goal.
Israel, which has an undefeated 5-0 record in the tournament, took a strong lead early, collecting four goals to Germany’s zero by the end of the first quarter. At the half, the lead had doubled to 8-0, 10-0 by the three-quarter mark.
Israel has rolled through its first-round competition in its World Championship debut, defeating Sweden 19-4 in the opener, Slovakia 17-2, Korea 19-2 and Ireland 18-9 before its win over Germany.
The team will now face Australia, which finished in fourth place in the Blue group and has medaled in 11 previous World Championships. The game will take place on Wednesday, July 16 at 5 p.m. EST and be broadcast live on ESPN 3.

Photo provided
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Israel Lacrosse Makes World Championship Debut

‍‍2014-07-11 14:18:00 - יז טבת תשעד hnorris

Despite turmoil at home and protests at practices, coaches say the Israel national team is ready to play.

Despite turmoil at home and protests at practices, coaches say the Israel national team is ready to play.

Amid turmoil at home, the Israeli national lacrosse team made their FIL World Championship Friday, July 11 with a 19-4 win over 10th-ranked Sweden.
The team traveled to host state Colorado earlier this month, just days after the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens were found in the West Bank and a week before Israel officially launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas targets in Gaza. Since the start of the games, the team has beat Sweden, Slovakia, Ireland, Korea and Germany for a 5-0 record as of Tuesday.
“At the same time while we think about the games, we also think about what’s going on in Israel,” said head coach William Beroza in an interview with the JT ahead of the team’s debut. “It’s a challenging time for a lot of the players, but, you know, we’re excited about playing lacrosse.”
With three players enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and more planning to enlist after the games, the team has been watching the news regularly, said Beroza, but the notion of dropping out has not so much as crossed their minds, he asserted.
“We end every practice, every dinner, basically understanding what’s going on back there, with our prayers and wishing them well,” said Beroza. “It’s not a major distraction, it’s just it’s something we need to think about, certainly.”
Since arriving to the U.S., the team has taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of the athletes and staff. Their schedule and hotel accommodations are not disclosed to the public and the team has hired a private security firm which has worked closely with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Denver police, said Scott Neiss, executive director of the Israel Lacrosse Association.
In addition, the association has temporarily closed its headquarters in Ashkelon and relocated staff to the program’s Tel Aviv office.
Despite the efforts to protect the team in recent weeks, coaches and players have not been immune to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement picking up steam across parts of the U.S. Beroza said the team has had to deal with a protestor at one of their practices and even had to make changes in their practice locations due to non-violent threats.
At the end of the day, though, Beroza said, “we’re here to play lacrosse.”

Despite turmoil at home and protests at practices, coaches say the Israel national team is ready to play.
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Four Questions for Jeffrey Rosen

‍‍2014-07-02 10:16:12 - יז טבת תשעד lbridwell

Jeffrey Rosen is proud that the BSL is now considered an elite league. (Provided)

Jeffrey Rosen is proud that the BSL is now considered an elite league.

Mark down the date: Friday, June 20, 2014. It was the day that the world realized that Israel had become a force in the world of professional basketball. Former Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv head coach David Blatt, who led the yellow and blue to both the 2014 Euroleague and Israeli Basketball Super League championships, was hired as the new bench boss of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

What an amazing season, as Maccabi TA won the Euroleague title May 18 in an exciting 96-86 overtime win over Real Madrid in Milan. But they still had to face defending BSL defending champion Maccabi Haifa in a two-game playoff. That also ended in another overtime victory, 84-82, on June 11.

Meanwhile, for Jeffrey Rosen, the owner of defending champions Maccabi Haifa, it was a tough loss to take. But he knows the most important thing for fans worldwide to remember is that the BSL has come into its own as one of Europe’s most elite basketball leagues.

Rosen has made the team from northern Israel into a global brand as the 2012-13 BSL champions. A resident of Aventura, Fla., Rosen has brought Maccabi Haifa to the United States, where last year they completed a successful preseason NBA tour against the Phoenix Suns, the Detroit Pistons and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Haifa management also helps produce the English-language “Inside Israeli Basketball” show, which has been broadcast on American cable networks and is available on the Internet worldwide.

Rosen is the owner and chairman of Triangle Financial Services, LLC, a Florida-based sports marketing, media and management firm. His passion for professional basketball in Israel has not gone unnoticed.

More potential ownership groups are looking to invest in the BSL, and the most recent entry was the group who purchased Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem in 2013. The group is headed by 32-year-old Internet businessman Ori Allon, and it includes New York Knicks superstar Amar’e Stoudemire and Eyal Chomski, who owns one of Israel’s biggest and most successful advertising agencies. Then for good measure they added U.S.-based Arn Tellem, who is widely recognized as one of the most influential and respected sports agents in the world.

Because of Rosen’s promotion of Israel basketball and the longtime success of rival Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, it suddenly seems like owning a team in the BSL is a wise sports investment.

Rosen, though, is not only involved in basketball. He was an original investor in the Israel Baseball League and has emerged as a leader in a group seeking to restore professional baseball to Israel after the failed attempt of 2007.

Just before a much-needed vacation after the BSL championship series, Rosen spoke to the JT about a number of sports-related issues.

JT: Another outstanding year but a tough ending. Can you reflect on how far Maccabi Haifa has come under your ownership?
Rosen: Despite falling just short of back-to-back championships, I’m extremely proud of the team’s accomplishments and the progress our organization has made over the past seven years. We went from a second-division team in the first season in 2007 and were promoted to the Premiere League in just one season. Our Maccabi Haifa team has earned five finals appearances (three Israeli League finals and two State Cup finals) in the past six seasons, including winning the team’s first championship, in 2012-13, in the franchise’s 60-year history. Maccabi Haifa has become a global brand, playing six NBA teams in the past four seasons. We also have our “Inside Israeli Basketball” TV show, which has been on the air in the United States for five seasons and has earned two New York Emmy Award nominations.

The Israeli Basketball Super League has attracted new owners and top players. Are you pleased with the growth of the league both in interest as well as the talent level?
The Israeli Basketball Super League’s talent and ownership is definitely on the rise since I became an owner back in 2007. Many of the teams are opening first-class venues, including our team, which opened a beautifully renovated Romema Arena in Haifa in 2012-13. Hapoel Jerusalem has attracted new ownership, including present New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire. As the owner of Maccabi Haifa, I welcome and am open to additional owners for our Maccabi Haifa team.

Is it your hope to have Maccabi Haifa play in both the BSL and
the Euroleague?
Our goal is to continue to be a force in the Israeli Basketball Super League. The Euroleague is something we can see happening in the future, but our focus is on the BSL and continuing to build Haifa as a global brand in international basketball with our annual games against NBA competition. We will soon announce the names of the NBA teams we will face in the United States and the dates, so our American fans can come out and see us.

I know of your love of baseball. How is your quest to bring professional baseball to Israel coming?
Baseball is a passion of mine, and we continue to support the local Israel Association of Baseball each year. We hope to build high-class baseball facilities in Israel in the near future.

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