When it comes to anniversaries, January 26 will rank right next to Lawrence
Frank's wedding day. January 26 was the day The New Jersey Nets basketball
team appointed Frank to be the team's new head coach, relieving former coach
Byron Scott who was fired.
Prior to Frank taking over the team, the Nets were an under performing team with
a sub par record of 22-20. Since then, under Frank's tutelage, the NBA defending
champions have posted 13 wins and just one loss, and pushed out to an 11.5 game
lead in the Eastern Division of the league. In the process, Frank set a new
record for new coaches in all of the four major sports (baseball, football,
basketball and hockey) winning his first 12 games straight.
Born and raised in nearby Teaneck, N.J., Frank was neither big enough or good
enough to play the sport in high school or at Indiana University, where he went
to college. But what he did, was to take the position of team manager for the
Hoosiers, and earning the respect and trust of its coach, the infamous Bobby
Knight. The bond between the two was so strong, Frank was appointed a student
coach while in graduate school, and since then has walked the road as an
assistant coach in both college and the pros. His road as an assistant brought
him to the Nets as an assistant to Scott, and now as his successor.
Incidentally, Frank is not the first Jewish coach of the team. In 1967, when the
team was formed as a member of the old American Basketball Association, the
team's first coach was Max Zaslovsky, a former Chicago Stag and New York Knick.
Later, in 1981, Larry Brown took over the team and guided it through the 1983
Philadelphia has been a great location for Jewish Women's College Basketball
this year. Jennifer Fleischer of New Hartford, NY, was named Ivy League Player
of The Week (Feb. 16) for her performances in two UPenn women's basketball games
in which she scored 37 points and pulled down a creditable 33 rebounds.
Fleischer has become the unpublicized story of the Quakers this season. Just a
sophomore, the 6-foot-3 center has been the driving force behind the team's 7-1
Ivy League record.
Meanwhile, at Villanova, Liad Suez, an Israeli, threw a major wrench into the
Number 1 ranked UConn Huskies, this past Saturday, leading the Wildcats to a
59-56 upset victory. Suez, a 6-foot-2 forward from Even-Yehuda, Israel, scored
23 points, 20 in the second half to lead her team.
What is more important, defensively, she held everybody's consensus All-American
Diana Taurasi to just eight points and four assists, an extremely sub par
performance for her.
Suez's brother, Maoz, also plays American college basketball at Kutztown
University in Pennsylvania.
The last place in the world one would expect to find an Israeli basketball
player is deep in the woods of Maine. How deep, Roy Goldstein of Beersheva, is
playing basketball at the University of Maine-Fort Kent -- hard against the
Canadian border and the most northern college in the United States. Goldstein
chose UMFK, a member of the NAIA (National Association of Interscholastic
Athletics), which is able to offer him a scholarship.
Like all of Israel's better basketball players, Goldstein did his three years in
the Israeli Defense Forces and played basketball for a club team. The NCAA, the
larger and more well-known ruling authority in college sports, has ruled these
players ineligible to play in American Division 1 and 2 basketball and for
athletic scholarships. However, because UMFK is a member of the NAIA, they can
give him financial aid. Goldstein is from Beersheva and is a business major at
Fort Kent. He is one of five foreign nationals on the team.
There are three Israeli's playing basketball at Lowell (MA) University. Also,
the coach of Lowell, Kenny Barer, a native of Long Island, is Jewish.
Each of the Israeli's, all seniors, played an instrumental role in Lowell's run
at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship, which was secured last Saturday
night with an 87-71 victory over Southern New Hampshire.
The three veterans of the IDF at Lowell are Uri Grenwald and Matan Simon Tov of
Haifa, and Elad Inbar of Kiryat Haim. Grunwald, a senior from Haifa, Israel, and
Inbar, a senior from Kiryat Haim, Israel, were each named to the Verizon
Academic All-America District I (Northeast) Men's Basketball First Team,
announced Feb. 23. This is the second year in a row, the two have earned
regional academic All-America honors, as both were named to the District I
second team in 2003.
Amit Tamir, a graduate of ORT High School in Jerusalem is the second leading
scorer on the University of California basketball team. The 6-foot-10, 260-pound
center is averaging 12.3 points a game, 5.4 rebounds, and is tied for the team
lead in 3-point fieldgoal percentage, canning 44 treys in 123 attempts, for
.358. He also has accumulated 13 blocks and 18 steals for Coach Ben Braun, now
in his 8th year coaching the Golden Bears. Braun, one of a handful of Jewish
coaches in college basketball, previously coached at Eastern Michigan University
In baseball, University of California sophomore Adam Gold of Lakewood, Colorado
has established himself as the dominant pitcher on his team. In five games this
season, he has a 3-1 record and an ERA of 1.11. He has also struck out 36 while
Rightfielder Brian Horwitz (Encino, CA) is off to a slower than expected start,
this season. After batting .347 with six home runs in 2003, and getting drafted
by the Oakland A's in the June Amateur Draft, the native Californian is only
batting .268 with one homer and four RBI in 16 games, this winter. Another UCAL
outfielder, Dave Weiner out of Crossroads High School in Los Angeles, is doing
better. He is batting a torrid .538 with two homers and eight RBI.