Dylan Bressler drives to the hoop during his 45-point outburst in a Detroit Jewish Basketball League game.
Dylan Bressler drives to the hoop during his 45-point outburst in a Detroit Jewish Basketball League game. (Paul Fischer)

July 6 will be a special night in the young league’s history.

Daniel Shamayev is certain the new Detroit Jewish Basketball League has accomplished its purpose.

The league has brought the Detroit Jewish community together through basketball.

Daniel Shamayev
Daniel Shamayev

Among the men’s league’s 80 players — 70 regulars and 10 substitutes — are observant Jews and a few “who are probably involved in a Jewish activity for the first time in their life,” said Shamayev, the league’s founder and commissioner.

“I want everyone in the league to expand his Jewish network,” Shamayev said.

“Teams were put together based on players’ ages and basketball skill levels to keep the league competitive, which it has been so far.

“Family members and friends were kept together on teams, but most guys in the league probably didn’t know their teammates before the league started.”

Weekly games began June 1 in the eight-team league and will continue from 8-10 p.m. each night through Aug. 17.

Games are played on two courts each Wednesday at the Beech Woods Recreation Center in Southfield.

Shamayev said the back-to-back games setup is working well.

“It’s great to see players and fans come early and stay late to watch the other games,” Shamayev said.

July 6 will be a special night in the young league’s history.

Paul Fischer
Gang Green of the Detroit Jewish Basketball League. Paul Fischer

In addition to being the night of the championship game of the Commissioner’s Cup, the league’s mid-season tournament, plus dunking and three-point shooting contests among league players and a kids’ game at halftime of the title game, there will be a community outreach.

It’s a barbeque from 6:30-8 p.m. sponsored by Partners Detroit — an organization that also works to bring the Jewish community together — in the Beech Woods pavilion.

While there is no charge to watch the basketball activities July 6, admission to the barbeque is $8 per person, $15 for a couple and $20 for a family.

“Everyone is invited to the barbecue. You don’t have to be involved in the league,” Shamayev said.

Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo could make an appearance July 6.

“If he’s not there that night, he will visit us on another league night,” Shamayev said.

Diallo averaged 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season in 58 games with the Pistons.

There will be a very nice prize for the league’s mid-season tournament champion, according to Shamayev.

The top four teams in the league qualified for the tournament. Semifinals were held June 29.

“Hopefully having a mid-season tournament will keep things interesting each year as we go through the regular season,” Shamayev said.

It’s been nearly a year since Shamayev quickly organized a Jewish men’s basketball league that attracted 40 players. League games were played last summer at Farber Hebrew Day School in Southfield.

“It’s amazing to think that just a year later, there’s a Jewish men’s basketball league with twice as many players as we had last year,” Shamayev said.

A youth basketball camp for Jewish boys ages 8-14 that will raise funds for the Detroit Jewish Basketball League and Farber will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 18 through Aug. 12 weekdays at Farber.

Rick Kaczander, a Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Pillars of Excellence award recipient, will be the instructor for the five-days-a-week camp that will focus on basketball skills and training, and life skills.

For information on the camp, contact Shamayev at (248) 797-3763 or danielrshamayev@gmail.com. 

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