Zack Rosen, is now a member of Hapoel Jerusalem after playing for Hapoel Holon last season. Rosen, averaged 5.6 points per game and shot 91% from the free throw line for Holon last year.
During the summer, Hapoel Jerusalem was bought by a group of investors led by Ori Allon. Allon’s team of investors includes NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire and super NBA agent Arn Tellem.
In addition, Hapoel Jerusalem will welcome former Maccabi Haifa head coach Brad Greenberg. Greenberg, will be arriving in Jerusalem after defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv in last seasons championship game.
I sat down with Zack Rosen to discuss the upcoming season, the pressure surrounding being part of the club and his love for Jerusalem.
After an up and down season last year in Holon, did you want to return to Israel this year?
I don’t think the results of last season had anything to do with my desire to return to Israel this year. There are positives and negatives to every place and I did a lot of learning last year. My hope is that there will be better results this year.
Hapoel Jerusalem is a club full of high expectations. How do you plan to handle that?
There are high expectations everywhere. This is a business and when it comes to business, there are always expectations. So to invest too much in expectations being higher in one place than another is careless.
How have you adjusted to life in Israel?
I’m a lot more comfortable now. The first four months of my first year here were a major challenge- being away from home, not really knowing my way around, struggling both on and off the court. But now, life is great here. I have a bunch of friends and know a lot of people (especially in Jerusalem), and I get to be on a team and do what I love for a living.
Are you looking forward to working with coach Greenberg and being part of the new Hapoel management?
For sure. There’s a nice little buzz around here. Coach Greenberg and I have known each other for a long time and I’m just thankful for the opportunity to help him, and the club win games.
Do you feel like you have a lot to prove this year?
I have a lot to prove every single time I step on the court. I’m an underdog and have been that way my whole life. I have to use my heart and my passion to overcome, constantly.
You recently said Jerusalem is the best city, can you be more specific on why?
I’m a spiritual guy man. Jerusalem is the holy city. It’s a great place to be a Jew and to explore your beliefs and your roots in Judaism. For me, there’s nothing like living here.
Is the NBA still your ultimate dream?
I think the NBA is everyone’s dream, on some level. Everyone wants to “wear the jersey”. Honestly, I take pride in just trying to improve every single day and give it my best. Wherever that takes me, so be it.
Hapoel Jerusalem will open up the season this upcoming Monday against Barak Netanya at 18:15.