By: Sam Meyerkopf / @HoopLikeDrazen
Arad Harari (1994) who played with both the Maccabi Tel Aviv junior and senior team last season, has decided to develop his game in the Canary Islands this year at the Canaries Basketball Academy (@CBAcademy). I was able to catch up with the hot prospect to figure out why he made the move, what he’s hoping to work on, and what goes into the development of a young prospect and the decisions they face.
Sam Meyerkopf: Arad how long were you with the Maccabi program and how has working with Israel’s most distinguished club helped the development of your game?
Arad Harari: I started playing for Maccabi when I was 15. I have been moving up the ranks slowly till I had a breakout season last year. They were progressively working with me, developing my point guard game. Last season they really opened the door and gave me the opportunity to play in prestigious tournaments such as the Nike Invitational in Rome where I played very well. After this tournament I was given the opportunity to play with the senior team in the Israeli National League (IBL). This was a great honor for me, playing for a team I have wanted to play for all my life, and playing with great players like Keith Langford, Devin Smith and Theo Papaloukas everyday. I learnt so much from these guys, working on my crossover with Keith Langford and the direction and knowledge I received from head coach David Blatt was great for me.
SM: Why did you decide to leave Israel and come to CBA for the year?
AH: At the begining of this season I was at KK Split, but I could only practice with the junior squad and I really never felt like this was the right place for me. I heard about CBA from Avi Even, our Head Scout at Maccabi. He sat down with my father and I, we had a long discussion about the direction of my development and CBA was the perfect choice as I needed to work on the physical and mental side of my game, basketball skills, work ethic, but more importantly to grow as a person. It was a very tough decision for me, but after seeing at first hand what they had to offer here and further discussions with a number of people, I knew CBA was going to provide me with all of this.
SM: What was the competition you were facing in Israel like compared to who you will be facing at CBA this year?
AH: So so so different, in practice alone I play with hard working competitive people from all over the world. Here I’m not the best player at my position, I can’t take it easy. The practices is something that I have never experienced before, so intense, so demanding, being pushed all the time by the coaching staff. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but when Coach Rob (Orellana) blows the whistle to end practice I always feel a sense of achievement, something I have never felt on a consistent basis before. We have only played a few games this season so far against LEB Silver competition, it’s a lot faster, aggressive and there is a lot of pressure to execute every movement here, just like my experience when I played with the first team at Maccabi, so I really enjoy the
SM: In what parts of your game are you hoping to develop the most at CBA? And do you think the CBA environment is better for developing certain skills as opposed to Israel?
AH: I want to continue to develop all aspects; my ball handling, shooting, passing, defense, reading the game plus the physical and mental side of being able to play and practice like a pro. So really the environment that CBA provides is perfect for me. It’s like a basketball HEAVEN!!! Here you do three things; basketball practice, eat, and sleep. Something that was very different from what I’m used to at Maccabi and something which is great for the development of my game. The coaching staff at CBA spends so much time with you on your individual game, three times a day and only care about making you better. Something that is perfect for me, but also something that Maccabi couldn’t provide as their philosophy is developing winning teams. Here at CBA, they only care about the development of the individual.
SM: How long do you plan on playing at CBA and where do you aspire to play afterwards?
AH: Right now I plan to be at CBA till the end of May. After this I really want to challenge for a place in the Senior first team at Maccabi. It has been a dream of mine to be in the selection week in week out not
just for the IBL, but also for Euroleague competition as well.
Check out Arad in some highlights for CBA: