2008 Top 16 Profile: Maccabi Elite

Jan 29, 2008 by Euroleague.net Print

 Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
Regular Season:
2nd, Group B, 11-3

Team Rankings
3rd points
1st 2-point %
1st assists
2nd steals
1st ranking

Zvi Sherf - Maccabi Elite
Zvi Sherf 
A tale of two halves of the season was the story of this year’s Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv. Early season troubles on a squad that featured seven new faces and a rookie head coach raised questions about the Israeli champs’ potential, however an early January coaching change has resulted in five consecutive wins to close out the regular season, an 11-3 record and second place in Group B. With veteran head coach Zvika Sherf on the sidelines, Maccabi has played with newfound energy on defense and with an organized attack that pounds the ball inside to Marcus Fizer as the club would lead the Euroleague in two-point shooting and assists. What’s more, Maccabi’s achievements have come as injuries have sidelined the last two pillars of the team that won back-to-back Euroleague crowns in 2004 and 2005, Nikola Vujcic and Tal Burstein, and with them back, the sky is the limit. Under Sherf, Yotam Halperin has shown leadership in the backcourt, Fizer has averaged 15.8 points on 60.9% two-point shooting, Ter
Marcus Fizer - Maccabi Elite
Marcus Fizer
ence Morris has posted 13 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and Alex Garcia has established himself as a defensive assassin off the bench, giving this team a new identity as a team that shares the ball and can, score, defend and win on the road, all keys to making a run at Euroleague glory. Moreover, its depth with guys like Esteban Batista and Will Bynum coming off the bench, and the huge home-court advantage of games at the always electric Nokia Arena turns Maccabi into a true impact player on the road to Madrid. If there is any question remaining unanswered on this team, it’s how All-Euroleague center Vujcic and Fizer will mix on offense and defense. If they prove to be a winning combo, Maccabi becomes an instant title contender.

Maccabi Elite head coach Zvika Sherf:"I just received the results of the draw, so it's still difficult for me to comment on the draw. For sure it's not an easy group, and also the schedule of the games seems very tough, but we don't have any excuses. This is reality and we'll need to face it. Nothing we can do about it. We start on the road against Olympiacos and they just changed a coach so we'll need to see how will that affect them. We'll give our best to make it to the quarterfinals."
Shimon Mizrahi, Maccabi Elite chairman: "Every team that qualified for the Top 16 is an excellent team. I think it we have a very hard group with Real Madrid, Zalgiris Kaukans and Olympiacos. We will try to qualify for one of the top two places to reach the quarterfinals. It wont be easy, but I think that we can do it."