Drink Up and The Jewish Link would like to recognize 17-year-old Zevi Samet as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The senior at the Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) has worked very hard to get where he is today, arguably one of the top five varsity basketball players in the Metropolitan Yeshiva High School Athletic League.
Like most freshmen, Samet did not get much playing time but, unlike most, the minimal time pushed him to work hard and earn time as a sophomore. That summer he connected with a trainer named Shaquille McFarlan and he changed everything. They trained from six to eight in the morning once or twice a week. Coach McFarlan worked Samet very hard and helped earn Samet not only a starting spot, but made him a key contributor in his sophomore year. With the help of Samet, the TABC Storm made it to the championship game but not winning it all fueled Samet to work even harder. Working three hours a day, three or four days a week, the goal was to really impact the varsity team the following year. Mission accomplished, with Samet leading the way, the varsity Storm advanced to last year’s championship game, hoping to bring home TABC’s first ever varsity basketball championship.
Covid-19 had other plans, as the game was canceled before they were able to crown a champion. Samet didn’t let coronavirus or quarantine stall his game. He kept in regular contact with TABC’s Coach Oz, his trainers and, most importantly, motivated himself to work harder. Samet told the JL, “Quarantine was one of the best things that happened to me during my basketball career so far. I just had a new drive and motivation to get better. I just started working like crazy and the results I was getting was like I would’ve never imagined. I was able to compete and play against a lot of Division 1 players this summer and was able to hold my own. I also was the MVP of Phase 8 at a gym in Brooklyn where top players play at. I still have a lot more work to do but I see how far I’ve come. Not playing at all freshman year to becoming a kid that can play against and be able to compete with some high level D1 players. I have to thank my coaches, trainers, friends, parents and grandparents for all their support.”
Zevi, it has been so rewarding to watch your game develop over the years. Who would you say is your role model and why?
Tamir Goodman, because he always wore a kippa whenever and wherever he played. I admire that a lot and I started doing it and it made me feel and play so much better.
What is your favorite sport?
Basketball. I was always pretty good, but when I met my trainer in the summer going into 10th grade he pushed me very hard and somehow I just started loving it.
What is your greatest sports accomplishment?
Bringing TABC to the championship two years in a row and being able to compete against top level prospects and D1 college players.
Who is your favorite athlete?
Klay Thompson, because he shoots lights out.
What is your pregame routine?
Stretch, form shoot and stay positive.
What is your earliest sports memory?
Traveling with the Clarkstown Stars (Little League baseball) to play in Allentown PA at age 7.
What is your weirdest sports memory?
That the TABC basketball team got called co-champions without even playing the game.
What is your favorite sports memory?
Training with a seven foot player in the summer going into 10th grade. That player is now a top 10 NBA prospect. And I was able to compete with him.
What do you like to do when not playing ball?
Teach kids sports, snowboarding and being a positive influence around friends.
What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?
Being able to set goals and work hard to reach them; Working with coaches who believe in me and encourage me to continue improving; Having parents and grandparents that support and believe in me.
The Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week will receive a 5% discount on their next order @Drink Up, order with https://bit.ly/321HONC or message Steve Gutlove 201-578-7425. Please send nominees for an upcoming Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].
By Jewish Link Sports Desk