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Archive for the ‘Jews and basketball’ Category

 

Omri Casspi update, Nov. 7, 2018

Posted on: November 7th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Might as well start labeling these entries with his name since he’s the only M-O-T in the N-B-A.

The Memphis Grizzlies forward came out of Friday’s game — a 110-100 win over the host Utah Jazz —  with thigh soreness. Casspi played seven minutes, scoring four points with three rebounds and an assist. he played just for minutes in their 102-100 loss to the host Phoenix Suns on Sunday but he scored a pair and had two assists and a steal. So he may not play much, but he’s active when he is on the court. Unfortunately, he missed last night’s 112-101 loss to the host Golden State Warriors with thigh tightness. Next game is tonight as Memphis (5-4, eighth in the Western conference and second in the Southwest Division) hosts the Denver Nuggets.

There was a nice write-up about him in the local paper, but I question the left-handed compliment-type headline. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive.

Omri Casspi interacts with his family during the Grizzlies open practice and scrimmage for fans at the FedExForum on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.

College basketball begins tonight. If I feel ambitious, I’ll look into the Jewish component in the NCAA.

Jewps update, November 1, 2018

Posted on: November 1st, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

(Jews + Hoops = Jewps)

As the sole representative of the Chosen People, all we have is Omri Casspi, of the Memphis Grizzlies (4-2, Fifth in Western Conference) so fingers crossed that he manages to remain healthy and productive over the NBA season. Otherwise, we have bupkis.

Here’s a quick recap of Omri’s accomplishments to date. He did not play in the Grizlies’ season opener, a 111-83 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

2018-19 Regular Season Table
G Date Opp GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS GmSc +/-
1 2018-10-19 ATL W (+14) 0 24:03 4 8 .500 0 2 .000 3 6 .500 1 3 4 2 0 0 0 2 11 8.0 +1
2 2018-10-22 @ UTA W (+8) 0 10:15 1 2 .500 0 1 .000 2 2 1.000 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 4 5.0 +7
3 2018-10-24 @ SAC L (-5) 0 10:16 2 4 .500 1 2 .500 0 0 1 2 3 1 1 0 1 0 5 5.0 +8
4 2018-10-27 PHO W (+21) 0 14:03 2 2 1.000 1 1 1.000 0 1 .000 0 3 3 3 0 0 1 0 5 6.0 +27
5 2018-10-30 WAS W (+12) 0 14:31 3 6 .500 1 1 1.000 1 2 .500 0 3 3 0 1 0 0 2 8 5.7 -6
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/1/2018.

Not into any fantasy sports, so I don’t know exactly what this means.

Image result for omri casspi grizzlies

Jewps update, October 25, 2018

Posted on: October 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Omri CasspiOmri Casspi scored five points in 10 bench minutes as the Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) fell to the host Sacramento Kings, just one of the Israeli’s former teams, 97-92.

Casspi also was credited with three rebounds, one assist, and a steal (and one turnover).

Joops Update (Oct. 22, 2018)

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

(Because Jews + hoops = Joops)

Memphis Grizzlies Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) reacts to a foul near Grizzlies Omri Casspi (18) in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)Omri Casspi made his 2018 debut with the Memphis Grizzles on Friday, scoring 11 points in 24 minutes off the bench to help his team beat the visiting Atlanta Hawks, 131-117.

The 30-year-old Israeli import — and the only Jew in the league at this point — hit on four of eight field goal attempts (missing both tries from three-point land) and three of six foul shots. He also pulled down four rebounds and made two assists.

Casspi — who seems to have missed more than his share of games due to various injuries and coaches’ ennui — did not appear in the season opener, a 111-83 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The Grizzlies (1-1) are his seventh team in his nine-year NBA career,: Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Kings (again), New Orleans Pelicans (for whom he scored 12 points in his only appearance before before getting hurt), Minnesota Timberwolves, Kings (again!), and the Golden State Warriors, who mercilessly released him with two games left on the schedule last year. I can’t figure out why he can’t stick since he’s generally regarded as a great teammate and a solid bench player. Maybe this is his year.

 

Playing catch-up

Posted on: October 5th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Had a great time in London, but the timing meant that I missed quite a bit in the world of sports. So very quickly…

I’ll be doing a full JML season recap in the days to come. For now, know that of the eight teams in the Division Series, five have Jews on their roster including:

  • Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Ian Kinsler, Boston Red Sox
  • Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
  • Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Max Fried, Atlanta Braves

Pederson —  who set a franchise record for most lead-off home runs in the regular season — gave the Dodgers the only run they would need in a 6-0 whitewash over the visiting Atlanta Braves with a two-strike, lead-off home run.

Fried walked one and struck out one in 1.1 innings of relief.

Braun was 2-for-5 as the Brewers took Game One in their NLDS match-up with the visiting Colorado Rockies, 3-2 in 10 innings.

Kinsler and the Sox host the Yankees in Game One tonight. As I post this, Bregman and the Astros are hosting the Cleveland Indians.

Onward…

Hard to believe, but the NHL Season began this week. Here are the Jice-men:

Brandon Leipsic scored what proved to be the game-winning goal for the Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0) in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the visiting Atlanta Flames on Wednesday. The decider can 2:20 into the third period. Leipsic played just 8:27.

Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (1-0-0), played 14:55 in a 3-2 overtime win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

Jason Demers, Arizona Coyotes (0-1-0), played 23:39 in a 3-0 loss to the Dallas Stars last night.

Jakob Chychrun, also on the Coyotes, has a bad knee and has not been cleared for contact.

Jason Zucker played 19:38 for the Minnesota Wild (0-1-0) in their 4-1 loss to the host Colorado Avalanche last night.

Andre Burakovsky played 14:04 in the Washington Capital’s opener, a 7-0 win over the visiting Boston Bruins, on Wednesday. The next day, the Caps (1-0-1) lost a wild one to the host Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-6, in overtime. He played 10:16 in that one.

Veteran Michael Cammalleri — the leader in goals scored among Jewish NHLers — is currently inactive.

Onward…

Over in the NBA, Omri Casspi has found a home: he is a member, once again, of the Memphis Grizzlies. Their season begins October 17 against the host Indiana Pacers. Unfortunately, the fragile Israeli is hurt again, although it doesn’t look too serious.

Finally…

Over in the NFL…

Week Five began last night as the New England Patriots (3-2, second in the AFC East) beat the Indianapolis Colts, 38-24.  Free safety Nate Ebner appeared on 24 special teams plays (77 percent).

Tackle Mitchell Schwartz appeared on all 78 offensive plays a plus another five (18 percent) for the Kansas City Chiefs (4-0, first in AFC West) in their 27-23 win over the host Denver Broncos.

Tackle Ali Marpet appeared on all 63 offensive plays plus two more (7 percent) on special teams as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2, third in the NFC South) in their 48-10 loss to the host Chicago Bears.

Strong safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared on 21 special teams plays (72 percent) for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1, T-3 AFC North) in their 26-14 loss to the visiting Baltimore Ravens.

Kicker Greg Joseph was 2-for-2 in field goal attempts (25 and 28 yards) for the Cleveland Browns (1-2-1, T-3, AFC North) in their 45-42 overtime loss to the host Oakland Raiders. He also made two PATs.

Rookie QB Josh Rosen made his first NFL start as the Arizona Cardinals dropped to 0-4 (fourth in NFC West) with their 20-17 loss to the visiting Seattle Seahawks. Rosen completed 15 of 27 pass attempts for 180 yards and a touchdown (no interceptions). He also rushed for five yards on one rush.

 

Cleaning out my inbox

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

So I have a bunch of Google alerts set up to bring me the latest news on what the MOTs are up to in various sports. Unfortunately, I’ve been letting time slip away and it’s been building up. So in an effort to get clean again, here goes…

NFL

Hard to believe training camps are close to opening again. Should be an interesting season, if for no other reason than to see what the players and teams will do about the whole National Anthem business. It’s not within the purview of this blog to get deep into politics; if you want to know my feelings you can find them on Facebook, where I probably spend too much time.

Suffice it to say the biggest news on the field as far as we’re concerned will center around new Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Maybe we’re just being overly sensitive, but there already seems to be a lot of attention — relatively speaking, of course — paid to his religion, in a way that other players do not have to face, even the Jewish ones who are already in the league. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here are a few items on Rosen to chew on:

Of course, Rosen is not the only MOT in the NFL. There’s Nate Ebner, a special teams specialist for the New England Patriots who’s coming off a season-ending injury sustained in the ninth game last season. There’s Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now entering his fourth season (“Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy“). There Adam Bisnowaty, who signed with but never played for the NY Giants last season. They placed him on waivers and the Detroit Lions picked him up last month. And, arguably the best of the bunch, Mitchell Schwartz, another O-Man for the Kansas City Chiefs.

David Tepper became the ninth current Jewish NFL owner when he bought the Carolina Panthers in May, joining Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Robert Kraft (New England Patriots), Jeffrey Laurie (Philadelphia Eagles), Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins), Daniel Snyder ( Washington Redskins), Steven Tisch (NY Giants), and Zygi Wilf (Minnesota Vikings). Last month, Blank was named Sports Executive of the Year by The Sports Business Journal.

By the way, in case you were wondering, former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman returned to the Canadian Football League where he led the Toronto Argonauts to the Grey Cup, Canada’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.

NHL

If you consider Andre Burakovsky to be Jewish, then fine, there was a Jew on the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitols.

Other Jews in the League during the 2017-18 season included

  • Jason Zucker (Minnesota Wild) who enjoyed career highs in goals (33) and points (64)
  • Josh Ho-Sang (NY Islanders) who had more than his share of issues with his team
  • Brendan Leipsic, (Vancouver Canucks), who missed his chance to appear in the Cup finals when the Vegas Golden Knights traded him away
  • Jacob Chychrun (Arizona Coyotes), who missed time due to injuries.
  • Jason Demers (Arizona Coyotes)
  • Michael Cammalleri (Edmonton Oilers, the dean of Jewish hockey players with more than 900 games in the NHL
  • Zach Hyman (Toronto Maple Leafs), who may have a career in children’s literature waiting for him when he retires

And mazel tov to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who celebrated his 25th anniversary in that office.

NBA

I think we can all agree that the Golden State Warriors really screwed Omri Casspi when they released him with just two games remaining in the regular season. Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s a business. Here’s hoping the first Israeli to play in the NBA will find a new home. For awhile it looked as though that would be in Portland with the Trailblazers, but now I’m not so sure.

The other football

Sigh. Soccer.

In the MSL, we have

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (2-6-3, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (7-4-3, third in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (2-9-2, 12th — last — in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (6-7-2, eighth in West)

Sadly, most of the international soccer news seems to be anti-Semitic and/or anti-Zionist in nature.

Miscellaneous

Finally, here are a few items that fall under the general heading of “Jewish sports”:

There, all caught up. Now that there’s only baseball to worry about, things should be a little easier.

Philly Jewish Sports Hall announces new inductees

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame will induct six new members in its next class, according to a story in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. They include Lou Scheinfeld, a “longtime executive who now serves as president and CEO of the in-the-works Museum of Sports”; former University of Pennsylvania basketball standout Bruce Lefkowitz; the late boxer-turned-trainer Marty Feldman; former MLB catcher Jesse Levis; former field hockey and lacrosse star and coach Lauren Becker Rubin; and longtime Maccabi youth basketball coach Brian Schiff.

And now, the rest of the story (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

To take a page from Paul Harvey (no relation to major Mets disappointment Matt)…

I have been majorly remiss in not reporting on anything but baseball. So let’s address that now.

NBA

Omri Casspi has laid up his final shot for the Warriors. (Photo: Facebook)Omri Casspi was waived by the Golden State Warriors just before the end of the regular season, thereby terminating his chance to make it into the playoffs. It’s not a stretch to say that the timing sucked. Casspi — the first Israeli to make it to the NBA — was a pretty good guy to have coming off your bench, regardless for whom he played. Obviously it was too late in the season for another team to pick him up, but here’s hoping we’ll see hime again next season. By the way, T.J. Leaf may be the first Israeli to make it to the post-season, but he’s not a MOT.

NHL

At this point, Andre Burakovsky (Washington Capitols) and Brendon Leipsic (Las Vegas Knights) are the only two Jice-men still active.

Burakovsky — whose connection with Judaism has been an issue over the last couple of years (he claims he’s not Jewish but the Jewish Sports Review stands by their “ruling” that he is based on their qualifications) —  appeared in 56 games for the Caps (49-26-7, third in the Eastern Conference), putting 12 pucks in the net and assisting on a baker’s dozen. Washington leads the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one in their conference matchup. They beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, four games to two. In the next round, they put away the Pittsburgh Penguins, also 4-2.

Leipsic, a 23-year-old rookie, had five goals and 17 assists in 58 games for the amazingly successful expansion Knights, who ended their inaugural season with a mark of 51-24-7, good for third place in the West. They are tied with the Winnipeg Jets in the Conference Finals at 1-1, having knocked out Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild in the first round. The Knights then ousted the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, in round two to move to the next-to-last step.

Zucker had an outstanding season for the Wild (45-26-11, fourth in the Western Conference). He appeared in all 82 games and led all Jewish players in goals (33) and assists (31). Zucker did not put up a point in the series with the Jets. He is also a finalist in the running for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given to “the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,

Zucker and his wife, Carly, raised funds for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, a space that allows children and their families to watch Wild games in a game-like setting. They donated $160,000 to start the project, and also contributed $1,600 for each goal Zucker, who wears No. 16, scored (33) this season. In seven months, the project has raised more than $900,000.

Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs made great leaps over the last two seasons. They came in at 49-26-11, fourth in the East. Compare that with 29-42-11 in 2015-16 and 40-27-15 last year. They were eliminated in the first round of this year’s playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

Michael Cammalleri — at 35 the senior statesman among Jewish NHLers — appeared in a total of 66 games, split between the LA Kings (15 games, three goals, four assists) and Edmonton Oilers (51 games, 4/18), to whom he was traded in mid-November. The Kings finished in the seventh spot in the West with a record of 45-29-8. They were swept by the Knights in the first round. The Oilers were pretty awful, however, 36-40-6, eighth in the West.

Jason Demers appeared in 69 games for the Arizona Coyotes  (29-41-12, last in the West), contributing six goals and 14 assists.

Jakob Chychrun, also a member of the Coyotes, had his share of injuries, appearing in just 50 games with four goals and ten assists.

Josh Ho-Sang was a lightning rod for the NY Islanders this year. For some reason, he was constantly in the news, an indicator of why the team was doing poorly, even though he scored twice and assisted on 12 in just 22 games. He spent most of the year with the AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Some said he had a bad work ethic, a bad attitude, etc. Others say he was injured and didn’t want to let on. Let’s just hope for better times ahead. The Isles finished 11th in the East at 35-37-10.

NFL

Not much to report since the Arizona Cardinals selected Josh Rosen as their No. 1 pick (10th overall) in the NFL draft, much to the former UCLA QB’s annoyance. And that annoyance has stirred up something that may or may not be there, as far as anti-Semitic sentiments go. Tablet Magazine took a tongue-in-cheek approach in this piece.

Image result for josh rosen, anti-semitism

Despite the JSR’s declaration that Rosen meets their requirements, this piece from The New Yorker would seem to go against the one about not identifying with another religion. According to the article by Zach Helfand, “Rosen is the son of a Jewish father and a Quaker mother. He had a bar mitzvah but attended a Catholic high school, where he went to weekly mass and gave confession twice a semester.” So unless that confession thing was just going through the motions…

BTW, the question of religious identity is always tricky. A Jewish lad might have a bar mitzvah (although I guess “having” one is a moot point since it’s automatic) but later decide to convert. A Nazi might say, once a Jew, always a Jew. I leave this issue to more enlightened and educated minds.

As for the handful of other JFLers:

  • Ali Marpet preparing for a new position on the O-Line?
  • The NY Giants waived Adam Bisnowaty, who never made it to the official roster. UPDATE: Since posting this earlier today, news came down that he was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.
  • Also around: Mitchell Schwartz, KC Chiefs, of whom great things are expected next season; and Nate Ebner (New England Patriots), who will be coming back from a season-sending injury.

MSL

Soccer. Ugh.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know my antipathy for the sport. Too much running around with nothing to show for it. Too much moving back and forth of players between teams and leagues. Too much time between games. Zzzzzz. But in the interest of fair play, I should mention the few Jews in the Major Soccer League. Thanks to the folks at JSR and Bob Wechsler for doing the leg work on this.

According to their calculating, these are the Jews of the MSL (standings as of this writing):

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (1-5-2, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (6-2-2, second in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (3-6-1, ninth in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (2-5-2, 11th — but not last — in West. That’s another thing: 23 teams in the league? They couldn’t have found one more to make things easy?)

Wechsler added in his email on the topic:

  • Andrew Jacobson of Vancouver and Zach Pfeffer of Colorado have retired.
  • Jonathan Spector of Orlando does not identify as Jewish. His Jewish grandfather was Art “Speed” Spector, was the first player ever signed by the Boston Celtics.
  • Kyle Beckman of Real Salt Lake is listed as Jewish in many sources. He recently married a woman in a Greek Orthodox ceremony. From what I hear, you must be willing to be ID’d as Greek Orthodox in order to participate in its wedding ceremony.

So there you have it, folks. I know there are several items I’ve neglected, such as Soren Thompson‘s upcoming induction into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame, and for that my apologies. I hope to do better in the future.

In the meantime, don’t forget about my most recent book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, in this, the 80th anniversary of that special season.

Warriors deal Casspi unkindest cut of all

Posted on: April 9th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Haven’t been dealing with the non-baseball sports for the past few weeks but figured to catch up now that the hockey and basketball (almost) post-seasons are upon us. But when I saw that the Golden State Warriors released Omri Casspi with two games left on the season, I had to post now.

From today’s New York Times piece by Marc Stein:

… Casspi signed a one-year deal for the league-minimum $2.1 million, spurning interest from the Nets, who were poised to pay him closer to $5 million this season. A product of the perennial Israeli power Maccabi Tel Aviv, Casspi mostly wanted to win again, having played for only one playoff team in his first nine seasons in the N.B.A. (Houston in 2013-14) and appearing in precisely zero playoff games.

Ending that humbling playoff drought would be a lock alongside stars like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, which made Kerr’s pitch even more attractive. But very little, in the end, went right for Casspi in the Bay Area.

With the start of the playoffs a week away, Casspi was summoned by team officials Saturday night after the 80th of 82 games and informed that he was being waived to make roster room to convert the reserve guard Quinn Cook’s two-way developmental contract into a full-fledged N.B.A. contract before the postseason began.

This year, Casspi appeared in 53 games, averaging an even 14 minutes per. The other numbers — points, assists, rebounds — are inconsequential given such a short span and so I’ve omitted them.

Do you think the Warriors should have treated him better? Do you think they should have given him more of a chance? Probably. But don’t ever think this is not a business.

Jewish sports update, January 31, 2018

Posted on: January 31st, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

NBA

Omri Casspi and the Golden State Warriors (40-11) suffered a rare blowout loss, dropping this one by 30 points to the host Utah Jazz, 129-99. Casspi showed signs of rust, playing 11 minutes, scoring two points, but committing three turnovers and two personal fouls.

NHL

Jason Zucker scored his 20th goal of the year, connecting on one of the four shots he took as the Minnesota Wild (27-18-5) beat the host Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in a shootout. It was the seventh consecutive game with a goal or an assist for Zucker, who played 16:31 and served a two-minute penalty for delay of game. The Wild host Brendan Leipsic‘s Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. Leipsic took one SOG in 10:29 as the Knights (33-12-4) beat the host Calgary Flames, 4-2.

David Warsofsky was a scratch as his Colorado Avalanche (27-18-4) fell to the host Vancouver Canucks, 3-2.

Tonight, Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs host the NY Islanders while Andre Burakovsky and the Washington Capitols entertain the Philadelphia Flyers.

MLB

Alex Bregman is proud of his days at LSUis and vice versa.

The Jays Journal blog asks, “Is Kevin Pillar the next domino to fall to clear the outfield clutter?”

Ryan Braun is clearly on board with the direction his Milwaukee Brewers have taken.

Cardinals Brewers Baseball

MLB Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig will explore the integration of America’s pastime and diversity in the game from 1945 through today during a discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee. The program will be part of the museum’s new exhibit, “Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” which is on view until March 25.

Misc.

JTA posted this piece on “5 Jewish storylines to watch” at the 2018 Winter Olympics, one to which the Jewish state will be sending its largest contingent to date.

 

 

   
 

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