Ryan Turell heads to the basket during his high-scoring career at Yeshiva University.
Ryan Turell heads to the basket during his high-scoring career at Yeshiva University.

Orthodox Jewish basketball player Ryan Turell will be in the spotlight at a Motor City Cruise game Feb. 13.

One was fun — and successful — so how about another?

Riding a wave of momentum from a Jewish Heritage Night game held Dec. 4 by the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena, a Jewish Heritage Night has been scheduled for the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ G League affiliate.

Ryan Turell
Ryan Turell Motor City Cruise

It will be Feb. 13 against the Greensboro (N.C.) Swarm, the G League affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets, at the Wayne State University Fieldhouse, the Cruise’s home court. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.

Nikki Wald, a Pistons group sales executive who orchestrated the Pistons’ Jewish Heritage Night festivities, has done the same thing for the Cruise.

The Cruise’s Jewish Heritage Night is extra special because Orthodox Jew Ryan Turell, who wears a Pistons-themed blue yarmulke when he’s on the basketball court, is on the Cruise’s roster.

Turell, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Los Angeles and Valley Torah High School in Valley Village, Calif., who was a scoring machine in college at Yeshiva University in New York City, was a first-round G League draft choice last year by the Cruise. He hopes to be the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA.

He was averaging 6.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game for the Cruise as of early January.

“The biggest reason for the Cruise’s Jewish Heritage Night is to support Ryan, but it’s also a carryover of the success we had with the Pistons’ Jewish Heritage Night,” Wald said.

There were 1,037 tickets sold for the Pistons’ Jewish Heritage Night in a crowd of 20,008. Nearly three times as many Jewish Heritage Night tickets were sold this year compared to last year.

Motor City Cruise basketball player Ryan Turell signs autographs for fans at the Detroit Pistons’ Jewish Heritage Night game last month.
Motor City Cruise basketball player Ryan Turell signs autographs for fans at the Detroit Pistons’ Jewish Heritage Night game last month. Detroit Pistons

Turell participated in the Pistons’ festivities, signing autographs and taking photos with fans.

Ticket packages for the Cruise’s Jewish Heritage Night include a discounted ticket, post-game meet-and-greet with Turell, and a chance to win Turell-autographed memorabilia.

Kosher food and beverages will be available for purchase. There are plans to have a halftime exhibition game between basketball teams from Hillel Day School and Farber Hebrew Day School.

Cruise Jewish Heritage Night tickets are available at pistons.com/jewish4cruise. The deadline to purchase tickets is 24 hours before the game. Have a question? Wald can be reached at (313) 771-0189 or nwald@pistons.com.

Another Jewish Heritage Night is on the Cruise’s calendar. The College Park Skyhawks, G League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, will have a special night Jan. 29 when the Cruise is in town.

Turell was labeled a generational talent at Yeshiva after setting school records for most points in a season (786 last year) and career (2,158). He averaged 27.1 points per game last season, the most of any college basketball player at any level and was named the national Division III Player of the Year.

There’s another star on the horizon at Yeshiva. He’s sophomore Zevi Samet, a 6-foot-1 guard from Monsey, N.Y., and the Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, N.J., who was 11-for-15 on three-pointers and scored 40 points vs. St. Joseph’s in a recent game after tossing in 38 points two games earlier in his home debut.

Samet was averaging 21.7 points per game for Yeshiva in early January and had been named Skyline Conference Player of the Week several times.

Send sports news to stevestein502004@yahoo.com.

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