Yes last week was College BBall week. But we got one more interview for you. We met up with Vermont’s freshman Josh Elbaum. Vermont has already beaten Sienna and played UConn tough. Meet the newest Freshman with Jewish roots. Also, big ups to his Dad who is apparently a TGR fan (and for taking him to shul).
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
My name is Joshua Elbaum, I was raised in Melville, New York on Long Island. I grew up playing many sports but always loved basketball. I attended two Maccabi Games, and won a gold and silver medal at Stamford, Connecticut and Orange County, California. I am currently a freshman at the University of Vermont.
2) When did you know playing college ball was a reality?
I always figured I would play college basketball somewhere, but until I got into my later high school years I had no idea what level it would be at.
3) As a freshman, what do you see you role on this team?
As a point guard, my role has always been to be a defensive stopper and to get the ball to my teammates in the best possible spots for them to make plays.
4) How do you like your chances in the America East League this year?
Many people are counting us out because we lost a few starters but I think we have as good of a shot as anyone. We are young but we have some great upperclassmen to lead us. Our main goal before any other is to win the conference tournament.
5) Vermont faces a tough opening week with Siena and UConn. What did the opening win over Siena mean? What could a win over UConn mean for the team?
The win over Siena was huge, because like us they have made tournament appearances and are considered a very good mid major team. We are really looking forward towards facing UConn. They have tremendous basketball history and are very talented but they have a lot of new guys in the rotation as do we, so it should be a great game.
6) January 20th and 31st Vermont plays in conference rival New Hampshire which has fellow Jewish ball player Dane Diliegro. Do you know any other Jewish ball players?
I was made aware of Dane Diliegro and I share a common faith but I have not seen him play or met him yet but heard he is a good player. It is always nice to know there are more Jewish basketball players out there. I did grow up playing with Brian Katz, who happens to be a good friend of mine who plays at the University of Yale. I also know quite a few Jewish Division III players from Long Island.
7) How is the best player you have played against?
Recently, I would have to say Kemba Waker at UConn. Growing up would have to be Lance Stephenson and Rod Odom.
8) What was your Jewish life growing up?
I attended temple with my father as child growing up. I saw it meant a lot to him, especially since he played professionally in Israel. It also didn’t hurt that most of my friends growing up were Jewish as well. I did not realize until I left Long Island, how few Jews there are, I was spoiled growing up in New York.
9) It seems like you attended 3 different high schools. Why the switch?
I originally attended public school under the Half Hollow Hills District until the 8th grade, where I played for the freshman team, but I decided to make the switch to St. Johns for a better basketball experience. After winning our league championship and league MVP, I attended Northfield Mount Hermon School for a post graduate year and we made it to the National Championship game. Playing at prep school really helped the transition to college basketball.
10) What are your future plans? Would you consider playing ball in Israel after college?
I would love to play in Israel after college. My father still talks about how great an experience it was and how much fun he had. He still has friends over there that he keeps in touch with. To keep playing the game I love in the Holy Land would be more than ideal. It doesn’t hurt that the weather is nice either.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
Photo by: Shane Bufano