By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Hapoel Jerusalem has had a tough season with lots of ups and downs, and Yotam Halperin found himself in the middle of the chaotic times for the team.
The two-time Euroleague champion finished playing the last five years of his career for Hapoel Jerusalem and stayed with the club as a sporting director. However, with Oren Amiel getting fired after a bad start in the Basketball Champions League, Halperin agreed to take on the coaching role for the first time.
The team saw some improvements but couldn’t get past Prometey in the BCL Play-Ins, finishing the season in Europe early. Those results followed with a few foreigners, former NBAers, parting ways with the team. On the other hand, they are currently at the top of the Israeli League standings with 11-5.
Becoming a coach in such circumstances can be really challenging but Halperin can’t say he didn’t enjoy it at all.
“Being a coach is a lot closer to being a player. In the end you are in the center of the stage, you make a lot of decisions while playing, the level of basketball and the level of decision-making of what you believe in and what you see is much more reflected when you are a coach and not a professional manager,” Halperin told the Israeli outlet ONE and added.
“To tell you that I do not like being a coach? It would be a lie, there is something very exciting, very fun and very challenging. In another day or two you have a game and you have to get to some point in terms of basketball, it’s something that excites me, you have to wait and see.”
He also admitted that it has been kind of nostalgic for him and that he did miss playing after retirement.
“Sure, being a player is something that only when you retire do you actually begin to understand what you experienced. I played from the age of 18 and I really had the luck, the privilege and the honor to also be in places that were very challenging, and suddenly when it ends – you get up one morning and realize it’s over It’s not an easy thing to do and it takes you a while to get used to it.”
He commented on Anthony Bennett and Thon Maker who didn’t deliver as much as expected, calling it a ‘gamble that failed’ but he’s now looking forward to working with the recently added KC Rivers.
“He comes with a lot of experience, he’s 35. I have no doubt he’s not the KC. Rivers of age 24-28 at the physical level. I’m not going to change my game for Rivers, I think K.C. He will be able to fit into almost any situation that is before him, precisely because of the experience he has, precisely because he has gone through a lot of coaches and a lot of situations on his personal level. From the first day he arrived you feel like a player has arrived here who has five or six Euroleague teams behind him, with a lot of experience and peace of mind in his game.”
When all is said and done, Halperin doesn’t really know where the future will take him but it’s not a sure thing that he will continue as a coach.
“I do not know, nice question. In the summer I will be able to answer you more clearly on this question,” he said and didn’t even want to think about moving on to another team, even if it was Maccabi Tel Aviv with which he won the Euroleague twice.
“It is very difficult for me to think even if I want to continue at the coaching level and you ask me about moving to a position at Maccabi Tel Aviv. The family I created here, my second family, at the level of the fans who are very dear to my heart. Right now, what I really want is for this club to be the best.”