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Maccabi adds Tre Simmons, Dror Hagag
by: Yarone Arbel, Tel Aviv
June 18, 2008
Maccabi Tel Aviv continued the building of its new squad with the addition of swingman Chester "Tre" Simmons for the next two seasons and Israeli point guard Dror Hagag for three seasons. Simmons (198, 26) joins the Euroleague runner-up from Hapoel Holon, where he played a key role in the club’s historic run to the Israeli championship beating Maccabi in the final. Hagag (178, 30) arrives from domestic rival Hapoel Jerusalem, where he spent the last two seasons and won two Israeli Cup titles.
Simmons is an athletic swingman with a strong basketball IQ and good outside shooting skills. He has spent the past season-and-a-half in Israel after joining Hapoel Galil Elyon in 2006 after a brief stint in Spain with Gran Canaria. Simmons played college basketball at the University of Washington, where he averaged 16 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in his senior season, earning all PAC-10 conference honors. In January 2006 Simmons signed for Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki. He averaged 15 points on 40.8% three-point shooting and 2.6 assists in 25 games for Holon last season and 19.2 points, 2 assists and 2 steals for Galil the season before.
Hagag is best known for his pesky defense, which saw him match the ULEB Cup single-game steals record with 11 against Lukoil Academic in December 2006. This will be his second stint with a Euroleague side after spending the 2005-06 season in Greece with AEK Athens. He averaged 7 points and 4.3 assists per game in the ULEB Cup last season, while in the Israeli League he produced 9.1 points and was ranked third with 4.7 assists per game. Hagag came through the ranks at the junior program of Maccabi Rishon Lezion, but didn’t break out into the senior level for many years. He spent the three seasons with Givat Shmuel, where he established himself as a legitimate first division player. Hagag’s next stop was Hapoel Tel Aviv, where he helped the team climb from the second division to the Israeli League finals within three seasons. Hagag moved to Belgian side Leuven and was one of the main reasons the club won a historic Belgian Cup title in 2005. His next stop was AEK Athens, where he ranked third in assists and steals in the Greek League, before returning to Israel with Hapoel Jerusalem. Hagag has also been a regular member of the Israeli national team, taking part in EuroBasket 2005 and 2007.
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