So we had college basketball week awhile ago, but we want to keep bringing you NCAA news. Here is an interview with Monmouth’s Yaniv Simpson. And Israeli baller everyone should be watching.
1) Can you explain your Jewish/Israeli background? Have you been/lived to Israel?
I was born in Brighton England and moved to Israel when i was 6 years old. I lived there until I was 21 then moved here to Monmouth NJ. My Mother is Israeli and my father is British. I hold dual citizenship.
2) What do you expect to do once your days at Monmouth are over?
I had rough injuries back in Israel. I tore my ACL twice on my right knee. In 2003 I played for the Maccabi Tel Aviv youth club at the European Championships. The main reason I came to the states was to get an education while playing D1 basketball. The plan is to go back to Europe and play pro baksetball either in Europe or Israel D1.
3) How do you feel about the upcoming season both for yourself and the team? The team is looking very good. We have a lot of talent. We are no longer young so we are looking to have a successful season overall. Both coaches and players have high expectations so we just wait and see. As for myself, I am currently injured. My ankle is suffering from a pretty bad orthopedic injury. Hopefully, I will avoid surgery and be able to play this season where I would expect to be an important factor in our success as I started for the team the past two seasons.
4) Do you know other Jewish players? Are you friends with any of them? Is their a bond between you guys?
I know Gal Mekel that used to play at Wichita State. He now plays for Maccbi Tel Aviv.
5) What has been your greatest accomplishment, thus far, on the court? What are your goals? I scored 26 points and 7 Rebounds at a game last year my junior year. As mentioned before I have been basically on and off injuries before and since I’ve gotten here. I would love to have one whole season without getting injured which doesn’t seem that realistic this season giving the current circumstances. My main goal is to get healthy for this season and win the NEC championship.
6) How do you feel about your Israeli/Jewish heritage? What is your biggest connection?
I am Israeli, proud to be a part of a unique country and culture that is like no other in world. My mother is 1 of 11 children in her family which also consist of 34 cousins on that one side so we are a very big family that is also something to be happy about.
7) Can you tell me a little bit about yourself in general? I am 24 years old. Basketball has always been my dream. I also play the piano. I enjoy travelling a lot and experiencing new cultures. My favorite athlete of all times is Michael Jordan. Dwane Wade is my favorite player that is still active. I am very connected to both my parents and my brother who lives in England.
8) How do you feel about the rise of Israeli basketball both in Israel and in the States?
I think that it is very important for young Israelis that would want to experience something slightly different. Is makes you a better player and a better person. It offers you an opportunity to get a degree and play basketball that is all sponsored by the University. Not many get to experience such a privilege. Omri Casspi is also our first israeli basketball player to make it to the NBA. I’m sure he will do an honorable job at representing us and I wish him all the best!
9) Who are some of your favorite players or players you look up to the most? Who do you model your game after? Michael Jordan – all time Dwane Wade – active platyer. Lebron James – Absolute beast Kobe – best in the world.
Being a shooter I can’t help it but to think of Ray Allen, best shooter in the NBA. Reggie Miller, however, was the best shooter of all-time.
TGR thanks Yaniv for his time and we hope he gets better soon.