By Judah Rhine
Yeshiva League Varsity Basketball Preview
We are excited to present the first annual 5TJT Sports Center Yeshiva League Varsity Basketball Preview, for the upcoming 2014–2015 season. This season is wide open for the taking, with numerous teams vying for the championship. Please continue to follow the results here at 5TJT Sports Center throughout the season. Thanks to all the coaches who gave us a peek into their team’s outlook for this season.
Derech Hatorah. The Derech Hatorah team is in a rebuilding year, with a weak senior class. With a strong lower class, Derech Hatorah should improve as the year goes on.
DRS. The DRS Wildcats Varsity will feature a strong front line. Matt Weisberger and Moshe Schwab, along with junior Gabe Leifer, will be hard to stop. The back court will be led by Eli and Yoni Goldberg. With several returning players and a junior class full of potential, DRS should be a force this season.
Flatbush. Having graduated 10 members from last season’s Varsity roster—including all five starters—the Falcons will be inexperienced and searching for a go-to scorer. What the Falcons do have is depth at all positions, good size, and outstanding point-guard play. Whether those advantages will make for a winning season remains to be shown on the court. Look for Flatbush to compete once again as a top-10 team in the Yeshiva League and to fight for a playoff spot. But whether they can match last season’s 8–6 record and quarter-finals appearance remains to be seen.
HAFTR. HAFTR has a lot of upside this year. With only two returning members of the 2013–14 season, HAFTR has an all-new look with an all-new team. Captain Jon Greenberg will emerge as one of the Yeshiva League’s top players, along with the addition of 6’5” Abie Perlow, who transferred to HAFTR this year, as well as Captain Michael Weissman, who is a defensive menace. HAFTR has a chance to make some noise this year in its division and looks to make a run in the playoffs.
HANC. The HANC Hurricanes are working hard preparing for the season under new coach Jonathan Gastwirth. With a number of returning players and some new players coming up from last year’s JV playoff team, the Hurricanes are hopeful for a strong season.
Heschel. Coming off the most successful season in the school’s 13-year program, the Heat will have to overcome the loss of seven of their top nine players from last year’s 24–4 team. With seven players (four juniors and three sophomores) moving up from a successful JV team joining the six returning varsity players, there is optimism that a “rebuilding” year will be put on hold and that by the year’s end the Heat will be a formidable foe in the playoffs. Seniors Jonathan Granowitz and Sam Lippman will be counted on to lead their young teammates on this journey.
Hillel. Hillel expects to be back in the playoffs this season, after missing it last year. Returning is Nathan Bibi, who led the league in points-per-game last season, and now should have a stronger supporting team around him.
JEC. JEC comes off two difficult seasons in a row. They are looking to improve with an infusion of talent from the JV.
Kushner. After its first playoff berth in six years, the Kushner Cobras will look to reload after graduating all but three players from a year ago. The Cobras expect strong contributions from Josh Degan, Jamie Rubin, Jake Jerushalmy, Greg Artman, and newcomer Joe Kirsch.
Magen David. MDY is looking forward to a bounce-back season after last year’s subpar season. Leading the way for MDY will be seniors Charles Chehabar and Victor Salem. In this year’s Magen David preseason tournament, MDY lost in the semifinals, defeating Hillel and JEC and losing to North Shore.
MTA. The MTA Lions will field a young team composed of only two returning Varsity players, Willy Kluger and Yosef Wildes. While expectations aren’t at their highest for this inexperienced roster, the Lions believe that hard work and rugged defense will enable them to surprise on many nights.
North Shore. The MYHSAL champs are coming off an unforgettable season. The boys are set to make a serious run once again this year at the league championship. With the return of superstar Cody Cohen, the boys will certainly be in the hunt. New coach Edgar De La Rosa will be taking care of the bench duties, and the boys are certainly in great hands once again, even with the departure of YU coach Elliot Steinmetz. Last year’s starter Joshua Hecht, seniors Isaac Haft and Ryan Paul, newcomers to the Varsity-level Yaron Cohen, and point-guard Max Setton will be a great supporting cast to help the North Shore Stars to a great season once again.
Ramaz. Fresh off two championship games the past two seasons, Ramaz Varsity boys will have new leadership this year. Sam Merkin and Jack Tauber will head up the new group of Ramaz hopefuls along with “big bad” center Gabe Roth and will lead this year’s group of “no names” to a new era of Ramaz basketball. Don’t count out Ramaz just yet!
SAR. The SAR Sting are looking forward to another season with returning seniors Josh Blustein and Micah Levy in the backcourt and Jeremy Sheinman and Andrew Pitkoff in the front court.
TABC. TABC will be adjusting to the post-Zirman era. However, with an abundance of talent coming up from the JV mixed in with their returning juniors, TABC should not miss a beat and once again should be in the top tier of the Yeshiva League.
Check out the next edition of the 5TJT for the Junior Varsity Preview. Best of luck! Let the games begin!
Judah Rhine is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and has been coaching youth basketball for 30+ years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.