(Courtesy of yumacs.com) D3hoops released its All-Region teams on its website last week, and Yeshiva University is heavily represented. Sophomore guard Ryan Turell was honored as the D3hoops.com Atlantic Region Player of the Year, while also earning a spot on the All-Atlantic first team. Senior forward Gabriel Leifer also secured a place on the Atlantic first team, while teammate Simcha Halpert received All-Atlantic third team honors. Elliot Steinmetz has been named the D3hoops.com Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
This year, Turell was named the Skyline Conference Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Skyline first team, on his way to leading Yeshiva to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA postseason, before the cancellation of the remaining winter and spring seasons. The Los Angeles native averaged a team-best 23.9 points per game this season, shooting an outstanding 63.6% from the floor and converting 46.2% of his shots from beyond the arc.
Turell scored 646 points, in 2019-20, which puts him in first place on YU’s All-Time Single-Season Scoring List. The second-year guard was selected to the Bevo Francis Award Top 25 Watch List, this past Sunday. The former Skyline Rookie of the Year became the first sophomore in school history to eclipse the 1,000-career point mark and was the fastest player all-time at YU to do so, in just 47 games played. Turell netted a career-best 41 points, while shooting 13-for-16 from the field and 7-for-9 from 3-point range, in Yeshiva’s NCAA tournament opening-round victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute, back on March 6. He is ranked No. 20 on Yeshiva’s All-Time Scoring List with 1,190 career points.
Leifer averaged a double-double (16.0 points and 13.7 rebounds) per game this season and dished out 6.6 assists per contest. The one-time U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Player of the Week generated four triple-doubles this year, the most in in all of NCAA Division III, including totals of 10 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in Yeshiva’s NCAA tournament second-round victory over Penn State Harrisburg, back on March 7. He also produced 16 points, 24 rebounds and 12 assists in YU’s Skyline Conference Championship victory over Purchase College, on March 1, on his way to being named the Most Outstanding Player of the conference’s postseason.
The third-year forward finished the 2019-20 season as the leader in the country with 11.8 defensive rebounds per game and has produced the second most double-doubles in the nation, with 23. Thanks to his strong year, Leifer was selected to both the CoSIDA Academic All-America second team and the All-Skyline first team. He is now ranked No. 16 on YU’s All-Time Scoring List with 1,230 career points.
Halpert netted 16.7 points per contest, shooting 50.4% from the field and 43.6% from 3-point range. The four-year guard finished his illustrious career as the second-leading scorer in YU history with 1,845 career points. Halpert tallied 21 points in Yeshiva’s NCAA tournament second-round victory over Penn State Harrisburg.
“Ryan, Gabe and Simcha are three of the best players in Division III,” Steinmetz said. “Their leadership, on and off the court, and competitiveness are major reasons why our program has experienced the success it has.”
Steinmetz has transformed the Yeshiva University men’s basketball team to a nationally recognized program in just his sixth year at the helm. The Maccabees finished the season ranked No. 8 in the country, according to the latest D3hoops.com Men’s Top 25 National Poll. The Macs earned their first two NCAA tournament victories in program history, on their way to the Sweet 16. Steinmetz led Yeshiva to an NCAA Division III-best record of 29-1, including 29 consecutive victories since the season opener.
Under the leadership of Steinmetz, the Macs won their second Skyline Conference Championship in the past three years, and won every single league contest this season (16-0). YU earned its first national ranking in school history, back on January 27, and has risen in the rankings in each of the last six weeks in which a new poll was released (from No. 24 to No. 22 to No. 21 to No. 15 to No. 13 and now No. 8).
The Maccabees closed out the year first in the nation with a 53.1 field-goal percentage. Yeshiva averaged 20.2 assists per game, good for No. 2 in nation, while also having the second-highest 3-point field-goal percentage in all of Division III (40.6).