By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Bender, 22, was with the Yellows from 2014 to 2016 prior to making the NBA jump. Deciding to return at least until December brings him back to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague after his seven 2015-16 appearances and to the Israeli league as well.
“Coming back to Tel Aviv and to Maccabi for sure feels like coming back to my second home,” he said, per Maccabi’s official site, “I want to help this club that I love and use my experience from the last four years. After talking to coach Giannis I decided I want to come and this is the opportunity to say that I wish for better times, times that we could meet the amazing Maccabi fans in the arena, in person, and make them happy.”
The Croatian big makes his way back fitting in the packed roster alongside Elijah Bryant, Scottie Wilbekin, Chris Jones, Angelo Caloiaro, Othello Hunter, Sandy Cohen, Omri Casspi, Tyler Dorsey, John DiBartolomeo, Oz Blayzer, Dori Sahar, Ante Zizic, Eidan Alber, Yonatan Atias, and Yovel Zoosman.
“We are very happy to bring Dragan Bender to the Maccabi family, everyone knows him from his previous years at the club. For us, it is very important that today he is more prepared because he comes from the NBA and that he is able to help the team,” pointed out head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos, “We are very excited about this collaboration.”
Bender played in 187 NBA games the last four seasons between the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, and Golden State Warriors. The short-term contract signed allows him to consider his NBA options nearing the end of the 2020 calendar year.
“There are a lot of things he can do to help the team,” added the Greek head coach, “We can use him as a power forward or center, so he can play in two positions. He can create a threat from inside and out and of course, he can help us defensively with his big body and long arms in rebounding and blocking shots. Welcome to the Maccabi family.”
The EuroLeague opener for the 2020-21 season is scheduled Thursday with ALBA Berlin visiting Tel Aviv.
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