Two big wins for MoJo and his team this past week and a run in with an old friend in the league. I think that is a good week for him. (Photo from Vermont Athletics).
In this installment, MoJo plays two games and has some pretty good ones. Two more wins in the new league and a run in with a bonafide New York City playground legend in a game. Check it all out right here in this edition of From Long Distance ...
What’s up everybody!
Two games have come and gone since my last post and I don’ t have too many complaints.
Last week we played a home game against Lev Hasharon. Their best player (in my opinion) was a quick little guard from New York named Antawn Dobie (Ed. note, yes THAT streetball legend). We were coming off a game where we felt like we did not defend worth a damn and knew that if we came out with that kind of effort again we would start our season 0-2. It’s always tough to judge a player in film sessions because the edit tapes make the average player look like Kobe Bryant! Coaches love taking a player's greatest clips from recent games and putting them together for their scout! With all that aside, Dobie was actually as quick and effective getting into the paint as his highlights showed. He was able to break us down a couple times real early in the game until something sparked us defensively. We started pressing, trapping, switching, talking, yelling, diving, taking charges… we looked like the Celtics out there (even though I hate Boston because I’m a diehard Laker fan, but they are great defensively)! We ended up winning the game by 21 points in our first home game of the regular season and it was a great way for us to bounce back from a game that we felt we should have won. Although I felt I played solid, I definitely did not shoot the ball well. I missed open shots that I usually make but I never get too concerned with that. It’s nothing that some time in the lab (getting up shots) won’t fix! I finished with 2 points, 6 rebounds (Ed's note, also a block, 2 assists and 2 steals) and had a pretty good defensive game guarding a confident wingman coming off a game where he shot 6-9 from three point range.
This week we played a team called Ironi Nahariya. This was a game that I was looking forward not only because I wanted to bounce back from a bad shooting game, but also because this was my boy Sani Ibrahim’s team! Losing ALWAYS sucks but I hate it even more when it is to people you know or who you play against back home. Our coach put a lot of preparation into this game because this team was picked in the pre-season to be one of the best teams in the league. Although they did not start their season the way many expected (they were 0-2 going into our game) we were still fully aware of their talent and the chip they would have on their shoulder losing back to back games. The game was close the entire way. We did a good job stopping them in transition and giving them different looks on defense. We started to pull away from them in the fourth quarter as our 1-3-1 zone had them scrambling a bit on offense. It was crazy to see how the life got sucked out of the fans once they knew their team was about to lose. They started chanting something in Hebrew towards the end of the game and I could tell they weren’t saying "it’s OK guys, we’ll get ‘‘em next time!" These fans were HEATED! When I got to the bench I asked a teammate what the crowd was chanting and he said "they’re telling the coach to take his ass home" (or something along those lines). This just goes to show that in sports, whether it be amateur or professional, winning can solve a lot of problems! The team is 0-3 in a 26 game season (not including playoffs and cup games) and already they’ve waived one of their foreign players and from what I understand could be making a coaching change. I guess that’s just the nature of the beast out here. All the hoopla aside, it was a great win for us. I finished the game with 12 points and 4 rebounds (Ed's note, also 2 assists and steals). It was also fun to compete against Sunny. We had a couple trash talking moments on the court but it’s all in good competition!
Everything else is cool out here and I’m becoming more and more familiar with the everyday lifestyle of an overseas pro ball player. I fill my down time with episodes of House (my new addiction), Dexter and Eastbound and Down. I’m actually looking for another show to start watching online, does anyone have any suggestions? Before I forget, shout out to my little brother about to start his junior year. No one is more proud of him than I am. We both had a lot of doubters growing up but it just goes to show that when you make the right choices, surround yourself with the right people and approach the game with love and dedication, you can accomplish some pretty cool things!
Remember that you can follow all of Maurice Joseph's day to day everything on his Twitter feed @mojo1sixty. Hit him up for the daily happs in Israel, shoot him a comment or to maybe suggest a new show for our resident Mont-Real baller to get addicted to. You can also follow his "little brother" Kris Joseph on Twitter @Krisjo32. Tune in again for the next installment soon.