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Israel takes center stage as U18 FIBA Challenger Tournament tips off in Tel Aviv

CM 02/08/2021

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The Under-18 Israel National team will be hosting a FIBA Challenger tournament this week in Tel Aviv and will open up the competition against Lithuania on Tuesday night with games versus Portugal, France, Greece and Estonia through Sunday.

The tourney replaces the usual European Championship which usually takes place on an annual basis but has been postponed due to COVID-19.
Beginning Tuesday at 2 p.m., three games a day will take place at the Drive-In Arena in Tel Aviv with admission priced at a modest 25 NIS for each full day. Israel will play the late game on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and on Saturday the team will tip-off at 9 p.m.
Head coach Oren Aharoni’s side has a number of players who will one day star in the Israeli league, and one in particular is 17-year old point guard Ido Menchel. The Maccabi Tel Aviv youth player spoke to The Jerusalem Post about his dreams, desires and goals as he heads into the tournament.

“Each tournament is exciting in itself,” Menchel began after having participated in the 2019 Under-16 European Championship. “I am very happy to take part in this competition as each one is special in its own right as you get older and move up to the next level. I’m excited. On the other hand, I am also coming into these games full of confidence.”
It’s hard not to remember when Israel hosted the 2019 Under-20 European Championships and the amazing atmosphere surrounding the entire tournament and Menchel is counting on the fans to do the same for his team as well.
“The fans are always a key factor and it’s great to have them in the stands cheering us on, which is something that is very important for any athlete especially after having almost no one except for the parents in the arenas due to COVID-19. Near the end of our season, you could feel the difference as the crowd really pushes us and helps us along.”
There are plenty of positive characteristics that Menchel brings to the table for the young blue-and-white team.
“I bring leadership and positive energy both on and off of the court. This is something very important to me and I take it upon myself to be there for everyone, support them when the need arises, distribute the ball well, score and be a threat from deep.”
Menchel began playing basketball at the age of six at school in his hometown of Modiin and then continued to play for the local league in the city until he moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv’s youth department a year ago.
“I moved to Macacbi this past season and It’s been an amazing experience, I was able to fit in very quickly and I believe that I was an integral part of the club. I gave everything that I was able to when we took part in the Euroleague tournament which was a first for me. All in all, I think that I did a good job.”
At the Euroleague tournament in Belgrade, Menchel averaged 20.8 points, 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds a game while also drawing 6.8 fouls to boot.
After his stellar performance, scouts began recognizing Menchel’s penchant abilities, “As I was beginning to get noticed, more media, scouts and others were getting more and more interested in me and that is something that you can’t hide from. I was getting messages on Instagram and friends were telling me that I was mentioned here and mentioned there. Of course, it’s great to see people talking positively about you, but you also have to take things into proportion and how to just take it in and move along whether they are saying good or bad things about you.”
Aharoni, who will be taking over the helm at Bnei Herzliya this coming season, was Menchel’s coach with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“I really like Oren and he really trusts me. I got to know him this season and I was able to really be a part of Maccabi. His biggest asset is how he communicates with you during the game and off the court, That’s something very important and it is very helpful. He’s also a very intelligent coach and I believe that he will be able to help us a lot in this tournament.”
As for role models, Menchel as a point guard, looked at one of the best in the business to model his game after.
“Over the years, Chris Paul is the player that I like the most and enjoy watching. I try to have the same characteristics that he does as we play the same position, we’re both on the shorter side, but what can you do. He’s no doubt my role model.”
Just like any other young basketball player, the NBA is a dream and goal for Menchel and seeing Deni Avdija and the recently retired Omri Casspi as Israelis in the NBA means that anything is possible.
“I remember as a child getting up early in the morning to watch Steph Curry and LeBron James, but when you see Omri Casspi during the good times and the more challenging ones playing in the NBA it was something incredible. If you do everything as you should, work hard and not give up, then anything is possible.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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