There is an art to stealing the basketball. There are many useful skills that help, such as quick hands or long arms. To be great at stealing the ball, a high basketball IQ helps to be able to read passing lanes or to force defenders into difficult spots on the floor. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv swingman Yovel Zoosman checks all those boxes and then some. Where Zoosman's ability to steal balls brings added value is how quickly his mindset changes from defense to offense; once the ball is in his hands, the counter-attack is on and that has led to many easy baskets since he has become a key part of the Maccabi rotation in 2018.
As soon as Zoosman gets his hand on a stolen ball, he starts charging forward while assessing the situation. If he picked a guard's pocket in the backcourt or swooped in to pick off a pass and there is no defender in front of him, then he'll dart in for a dunk. If he picks off a ball closer to his basket, he takes charge with the ball while sizing up the angles and his teammates to deliver a decisive pass. And the rest of the Maccabi squad all know that they should make a bee-line for the hoop because Zoosman will get them the ball if they're open.
Zoosman is Maccabi's defensive ace and will often be charged with stopping the opponents' top perimeter scorer. He racked up 24 steals in 23 games this season and he caused countless others for teammates by using his aggressiveness, smarts and long arms to force his rivals into bad passes. Those plays are among the reasons Maccabi ranked among the league leaders last season in almost every major defensive category, including a league-best 7.75 steals per game. And with Zoosman helping turn some of those within mere seconds into back-breaking dunks, Maccabi promises to be among the best defenses again this season.