The first EuroLeague Academy season in Israel drew to a close on Tuesday at Hadar Yosef National Sports Center in Tel Aviv with Ramat Aviv 1 capturing the trophy as the maiden champion of the EuroLeague Academy Tournament Tel Aviv Final Four.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv partnered with EuroLeague Academy in organizing the competition and its general manager, EuroLeague Basketball ambassador Nikola Vujcic, was on hand to witness the finals. Vujcic learned the benefits of EuroLeague Academy first-hand; his son, Marin, played the competition and reached the quarterfinals and they attended the finals together.
"It is a great thing that the EuroLeague started this project for kids. It has a big impact for our club," Vujcic said. "Maccabi has started our own girls' program and it is great to see girls involved in the EuroLeague Academy as well. You can hear boys and girls talking with pride, how they are playing in the EuroLeague and it is a great thing to see and I am sure the project will grow more in the future."
The EuroLeague Academy season in Israel featured 16 teams comprised of boys and girls ages 12 and under from Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas. Some 240 children competed during the regular season, in which they were separated into two groups of eight teams with the best four from each group advancing to the quarterfinals, which were played last Friday.
Bloh, a Tel Aviv based school team, joined three teams comprised from Maccabi Tel Aviv academy kids Ramat Aviv 1, Naomi Shemer 1 and Kohav Hatzafon at the Final Four. Ramat Aviv 1 prevailed over Naomi Shemer 1 in the championship game.
For the children, the EuroLeague Academy season as a whole and the Tel Aviv Final Four, in particular, was a funfilled venture that was able to advance their knowledge of basketball. Thanks to Maccabi, there were a number of current and former Maccabi players who visited at different stages of the season to deliver useful advice on the values of sports and the importance of teamwork.