1st In NBA History: Israeli Basketball Player Drafted To NBA In Top-10

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Deni Avdija (Official website of Maccabi Tel Aviv)

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Israeli-Serbian basketball player Deni Avdija was selected as the ninth overall pick by the Washington Wizards, the first Israeli to be selected in the top ten in NBA history.

“Israel is such a small country that doesn’t produce as many NBA players as other countries, but for me, just to represent my country and to make history, that’s a blessing,” Avdija said. “I have the whole nation behind me.”

“We’ve seen quite a bit of him. Our international scouts have been on this kid since he was 16,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “We were very grateful he fell to nine (on the draft)… He’s a proven player, having played in EuroLeague. He’s got character, work ethic – he checked all of our boxes.”

Six-foot-nine Avdija, 19, is the son of two professional athletes. His father, Zufer Avdija, a Serbian-Israeli former champion basketball player won a bronze medal with Yugoslavia at the 1982 FIBA Basketball World Championship and also played professionally in Israel. His mother is Sharon Artzi, an Israeli former championship runner.

Deni was born in Israel and became a teenage sensation, joining the senior Maccabi Tel Aviv team at age 16, the youngest in the club’s history. When he was 18, he became the youngest player to win the Israeli League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and led his team to the Israeli League championship.

Avdija will be the third Israeli to play in the NBA, joining Omri Casspi and Gal Mekel. A fellow Israeli, Avdija’s teammate on the FIBA U20 national team and Hapoel Tel Aviv point guard Yam Madar, was also selected on Wednesday night by Boston in 47th place.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)



4 COMMENTS

  1. DEAR (FAKE) YESHIVA, WORLD:
    It is ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING TO HAVE THESE UGLY IMAGES ON THIS SUPPOSED “YESHIVA” SITE WHICH IS INTENDED TO HAVE TOTALLY CLEAN CONTENT. WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BE MACHSHIL THOUSANDS WITH THIS DESPICABLE POST??????????????? SHAME ON YOU, WOE TO US
    THANKS FOR ACCEPTING THE CRITIQUE GRACIOUSLY

  2. What does it mean that he doesn’t “look” Jewish? What are Jews supposed to look like?

    KGN, yes, he has one Jewish parent, but it’s the right parent, which makes him 100% Jewish. He has a holy neshama, just like yours and mine. Unfortunately it’s trapped in a body that never got the right education and doesn’t know how to sustain it; we must feel pity for it, and since he is his neshama we must feel pity for him.