April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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YU Men’s Basketball Team Roster Preview

The 2019-2020 Macs put together a season to remember, compiling the best record in program history (29-1, best in DIII), their first D3Hoops top 25 ranking (peaking at #8 at the end of the season), and winning two NCAA Tournament games for the first time. Unfortunately, the Macs’ run was cut short due to COVID-19. Hungry to pick up where they left off, this new Macs team will be without several key veterans who have graduated, most notably Simcha Halpert and Dani Katz who contributed tremendously to the team’s success. Yet, along with new additions to the team, the Macs have much of their main core intact and are expected to be among the best teams in D3 this year.

Here is a look at the 18 players on the Macs’ roster this season.

Returning Players

Ryan Turell- After what may have been the best individual season in Yeshiva’s history last year, in which Turell accumulated a number of honors such as D3Hoops.com All-America First Team, NABC All-America Second Team and Skyline Conference Player of the Year, Turell may have gotten even better. The junior added 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason and has shown an excellent track record regarding his work ethic. Already the record-holder for single-season points, with 646 (63.6 FG%/46.2 3PT%/79.5 FT%), expect Turell to continue to be a leader for this very talented Macs team.

Gabe Leifer- After a dominating 2019-20 campaign, Leifer is back for his fourth and final season at YU. Last season, Leifer put up 16 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per outing on 51.5% shooting, and went 38.7% from 3-point territory. He was awarded with a spot on the D3Hoops.com All-America Fourth Team, Skyline Conference First Team and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Skyline Championships. Look for Leifer to keep up his all-around dominance in this coming season.

Eitan Halpert- As last season progressed, Halpert saw his minutes drastically increase, to the point where he was playing around 24 minutes and scoring 15.6 points per game in the last five games. As a newly-minted captain for Yeshiva, Halpert will play big minutes for a Macs team that benefits from his floor-spacing ability and knack for finding open teammates.

Ofek Reef- In Reef’s fantastic rookie campaign, he averaged 10.7 points a night on 58.3% shooting from the field, being awarded the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year. The high-flying Reef should see even more playing time this year and should shoulder more of the scoring load with sharpshooter Simcha Halpert gone.

Max Leibowitz- A former high school teammate of Turell’s at Valley Torah, Leibowitz is a fantastic shooter from beyond the arc. Leibowitz’s floor-spacing ability and aggressiveness on defense should come in handy this coming season.

Jasper Newman- Jasper Newman is an incredibly versatile big man, possessing the ability to space the floor and handle the ball, while also playing down low. Newman should see more playing time this year than before due to his versatility.

Alon Jakubowitz- Second-year rim-protecting big man Jakubowitz is a big body coming off the bench. At 6’7”, Jakubowitz’s long frame allows for good looks around the basket and will be a huge deterrent to opposing teams’ slashers.

Ryan Bokor- The younger (but bigger) brother of former YU Mac Kevin Bokor, Ryan is a 6’6” big man with a very solid shooting touch. His prowess from mid-range will be a nice asset for the Macs this season.

New Players

Samuel Merkin- Standing at 5”11, grad student Merkin attended RAMAZ for high school followed by Columbia for college. Merkin is a high IQ player and an excellent shooter which will come in handy when learning Yeshiva’s motion offense.

Matan Zucker- A recent transfer from Brandeis, Zucker is a jack-of-all-trades type of player; He can score inside, is a great passer and a solid defender. Expect Zucker to make an immediate impact for Yeshiva.

Adi Markovich- Hailing all the way from Israel, Markovich is a talented ball-handling guard who is always a threat to make a play on the offensive end. A strong, tough player with a high basketball IQ, Markovich can also extend the floor with his shooting from beyond the arc.

Oren Betesh- Freshman Betesh is a gifted shooter who is always a threat from 3-point land. At 5”10, Betesh’s quickness and instincts give him the tools to be a great defensive player and he could very well be a huge asset in a 3-and-D role for the Yeshiva basketball team.

Gav Landau- Replacing Dani Katz as the lone Beth Tfiloh player on the team, Landau is a spectacular shooting guard and a very talented defender. Similar to Katz, it is Landau’s extremely high basketball IQ and understanding of the game which makes him truly stand out.

Nadav Altit- Altit is another former Valley Torah teammate of Turell’s. A 6”7 big man with the dribbling ability and shooting touch of a guard, Altit is simply a matchup nightmare for defenders and should also add some height on the defensive end.

Arad Mishkal- Transfer student Mishkal played last season at Mercer County in New Jersey and is now entering his second year of collegiate basketball. At 6”4, Mishkal is a very aggressive, tough defender and a quality rebounder for his size.

Judah Oppenheimer- The 2018-2019 Jewish Hoops America Player of the Year and a Yeshiva League legend, Judah Oppenheimer is an absolute lights-out shooter. The SAR graduate is a very willing passer and has an incredible court sense for a first-year player.

Zack Muller- Former Shalhevet superstar Zack Muller is a capable defender at the guard position, and his shooting ability extends to just about anywhere on the court. The former Sarachek MVP is a natural playmaker and has shown a knack for delivering in big moments.

David Sabzehroo- 5”10 Freshman David Sabzehroo led Great Neck South in scoring and 3-pointers for three consecutive years. The three-time All-Nassau County guard should have little trouble blending his shooting skills into Yeshiva’s motion offense.

By Alexander Wildes 


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