In our latest installment of From Long Distance, we manage to have a Can Ball Report favorite from last season, and previous seasons, Jared Mintz give us an inside look at the pro life in Israel. He gives a look at his rookie season experiences all right here ...
Editor's Note: Jared did a pretty good job introducing himself below so I won't be regaling you with his laurels. Instead I'll just tell you that he was one of the better stories coming out of Canada as a fairly lightly recruited member of Vaughan Road Academy that featured one other future Division 1 player in Alex Johnson. He had one scholarship offer and the rest is history. Or you can check out this story that ran in SLAMonline a little while ago. He's currently averaging 4.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.7 minutes of action in seven games. So without further adieu, we give you Jared Mintz ...
What's happenin' everybody?
Just want to start out giving some thanks to Ray for asking me to do this.... I always really enjoyed reading other player's blogs on the site and now I get to do my own, pretty cool.
So anyways, my name is Jared Mintz and I'm from Toronto. After finishing up my high school career at Vaughan Road Academy, I committed to Lafayette College (a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania) and spent the last 4 years going to school and hooping down there. I had a pretty good career and after playing my last collegiate game I started looking for a professional agent to represent me. Fast forward a couple months and I'm out here in Israel, almost 10,000 km away from home.
Israel was the most logical place for me to start a professional career because I was able to become a citizen and get an Israeli passport. For those of you who don't know, there's a limit on how many foreign born players teams can have overseas... so it's always an advantage to be able to sign as a domestic player.
I started out the year playing in the city of Herzliya for the Bnei Hasharon basketball club in Israel's first division. It's a high level of basketball with a lot of proven veteran and some young stud American players. Personally, our team had three different NBA players at different times throughout the first half of the season (Trevor Booker, J.J. Hickson, and Ekpe Udoh), as well as some other high major NCAA players. However, our team had a pretty tough time in the Israeli league and I never really got to play the role, or get the minutes, I thought I was able to play on the team. So, after almost six months with the team I asked to be released and signed with Hod Hasharon in Israel's second division. The switch has allowed me to play a lot more and with more freedom, and has just been a more enjoyable experience so far. We're currently tied for fourth place in the league (editor's note - fifth now) with six games to go (Ed's note again - actually only five games left. I was late publishing the post.) and looking to finish strong heading into the playoffs.
The weirdest thing that's happened to me out here has been my experience with coaches. Compared to the relative job security of collegiate basketball, it's like a war zone out here.
Time I've spent in Israel: eight months.
Teams I've played for: two.
Head coaches I've had? Six.
Ya, you read that right, six. There have been coaches fired, coaches quit, coaches leave to go to other teams, coaches get sick, you name it. At this point it's kind of become a running joke with the guys on the team. I always thought coaches liked me but maybe not... Anyways 6 coaches in one year has got to be some kind of record. (Ed.-most since the old ABA for sure.)
Outside of basketball Israel is a really nice country. It's not at all what you see and hear on CNN. The majority of people speak English at least to some degree (although I speak Hebrew pretty well so I'm usually alright regardless), the weather is great, and it's much more safe than people think. I've gotten to see some of the sites around the country, enjoy the great food here, and spend time with my Israeli cousins that rarely come to visit Canada. It's been an interesting year and hopefully we can finish it off the right way with the playoffs coming up.
Alright, guess that's it from me. Thanks to everyone who read, thanks again Ray, and good luck to all the other Canadians abroad doing their thing. And Love you mom.