The Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh team lost a close game on opening night of the Detroit Shul Basketball League.
The Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh team lost a close game on opening night of the Detroit Shul Basketball League. (Daniel Shamayev)

Daniel Shamayev used social media, and texts and phone calls to family and friends to get the word out about the league as he tried to organize it.

Daniel Shamayev is the youngest player in the new Detroit Shul Basketball League.

The 20-year-old from Keego Harbor also is the league’s founder and commissioner.

The first league games were played on the night of July 14 at Farber Hebrew Day School in Southfield.

Daniel Shamayev
Daniel Shamayev

That was less than two weeks after Shamayev began putting together the league and one week after opening night was canceled because of a power outage.

“Crazy. Awesome. Satisfying. Excited,” were some of the words Shamayev used to describe his emotions after the league’s first night, which saw four of the league’s five teams compete.

There are about 40-50 men in the league from Orthodox shuls, many of them Farber grads like Shamayev.

While Shamayev is the youngest league player, the oldest players are in their 40s and 50s.

Shamayev’s Keter Torah Synagogue team from West Bloomfield defeated Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh from Oak Park 44-41 in the league’s opening game.

Shamayev made two free throws with six seconds left to secure his team’s victory.

“I didn’t know the score at the time,” he said. “But I knew it was important for me to make the free throws.”

Young Israel of Oak Park defeated Young Israel of Southfield 57-42 in the league’s other opening night game.

The fifth league team is Aish Hatorah in the Woods in Oak Park.

So why did Shamayev decide to put together a basketball league during the summer before he heads to Yeshiva University in New York to study finance, and while he’s working at his father’s Lincoln Tailor shop in Oak Park?

“I love basketball. And I love playing basketball,” he said. “I love everything about the sport. I love the teamwork it takes to make a basket. It takes all five players on a team to make a basket.

Young Israel of Oak Park and Young Israel of Southfield players take a break on opening night of the Detroit Shul Basketball League.
Young Israel of Oak Park and Young Israel of Southfield players take a break on opening night of the Detroit Shul Basketball League.

“I’m very vocal when I play. Maybe too vocal. But you have to be vocal to play offense and defense.”

Shamayev used social media, and texts and phone calls to family and friends to get the word out about the league as he tried to organize it. Old-fashioned word of mouth helped, too.

The effort began over the July 4 holiday weekend.

Plans to begin league play on July 7 were squashed when players couldn’t get into Farber because of a power failure that followed strong storms that pelted southeast Michigan earlier in the day.

Power was still out in the Farber area the next night, so the opening night league games were pushed forward a week, as was the league schedule.

League games are two 20-minute halves with running time except for the final two minutes of the second half, which are stop time.

Paid officials are calling the games.

Four weeks of regular-season league play will be followed by two weeks of single-elimination playoffs. All on Wednesday nights at Farber.

On the first playoff night, the No. 4 seed and No. 5 seed teams will play.

Then the No. 1 seed will get the choice of facing the winner of the No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed game, or the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the semifinals that night.

The two teams the No. 1 seed doesn’t select will play in the other semifinal game that night.

Shamayev plans to have special rules in place for the league championship game the following week. He hasn’t decided what those rules will be.

The champion team will win something paid for from the teams’ league entry fee, perhaps dinner at a kosher restaurant, Shamayev said.

Shamayev isn’t thinking about the league’s future at the moment. He’s more focused on the current season.

“If I’m in town, I’ll be happy to run the league each summer,” he said. “If I’m not around, hopefully somebody else will run it.” 

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