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Ben Saraf Q&A

Credit: BWB

Following Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Indianapolis, Pro Insight’s Florian Kurth met with Israeli guard and BWB participant Ben Saraf to talk about his first professional experience in the Israeli league, to get his own assessment of his game and to venture a look into the future.

For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2006-born prospect Ben Saraf, from Kiryat Ata, Israel:

Pro Insight: Obviously, to start off, we are aware about the current unimaginable situation in and around your home country. How did you still manage to concentrate on basketball?

Ben Saraf: It's tough as you said, we have a very difficult situation. I have my people around me and they help me to stay concentrated. That’s it.

PI: Let’s talk about Ben Saraf. How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.

BS: Yeah, both of my parents played basketball here in Israel’s first division, when they were younger. So, I didn’t really have a choice (laughs). That is why I started from a young age already with basketball.

PI: Did your parents only play in Israel?

BS: Yes, exactly. Only here in Israel.

PI: Growing up, did you try your hand at other sports?

BS: Yeah, I played some soccer and tried judo, as well.

PI: Jumping to present day — for those who are not familiar with your game — what are your biggest strengths and your style of play?

BS: I think I am a point guard who can create for himself and for others. I can pass it really good, I think. Also I can guard the ball, which I need to improve, but I can do it. Another main thing is that I can shoot it.

PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?

BS: Vasilije Micić is my idol.

PI: What would you say is the most underrated aspect of your game?

BS: I think my defense, still. I am a pretty good at it already.

PI: Where do you feel you still need to improve the most?

BS: I think my weak hand. So driving and passing with my right hand. I think also my off-the-dribble shooting. It is already getting better, but I still work on it.

PI: What else have you really developed recently?

BS: I think I developed a lot in separation creation in pick-and-roll situations. Also to pass or shoot it from there. So I would say creating space is the main thing.

PI: You are playing your first season at the pro level in Israel — how is the season going for you? Team-wise, but also individually for you?

BS: First, I think for my team, we are a club with a pretty low budget, but we are doing great things. We are pictured in the playoffs right now. In the beginning it was a bit difficult to get used to the size and strength of the players. I mean I was suddenly playing against top EuroLeague and EuroCup players. So I think I am doing a pretty good job.

PI: In what area(s) do you feel you currently specifically impact winning?

BS: I create for others, for myself. I always try to control the game and the tempo. I think that is the big part of how I impact the team.

PI: What are your short-term goals for the rest of the season with Ironi Kiryat?

BS: I think our main goal is to get to the playoffs. I think that is the goal for the season.

PI: How was the experience for you at BWB in Indianapolis during all-star weekend?

BS: It was great. It is always a great opportunity to play against the best players in the world from your generation. There were some very talented players at this high-level camp. So it was a good opportunity for me.

PI: Can you imagine going to college in the U.S. one day?

BS: I don’t know, I don’t think about it too much. I mean I am a pro already, so I think I will stick to it.

PI: Is there a dream path for you for the upcoming season?

BS: I don’t know yet. I don’t have a goal. I just see day-by-day work. I just try to work hard everyday and concentrate on that for now.

PI: What excites you most besides basketball? Any hobbies?

BS: I love to play chess, go to the beach here in Israel, or just spend time with friends and family.

PI: Who is your favorite music artist?

BS: I listen to every type of music — Israeli music, but also American stuff.

PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional basketball player, what would you do?

BS: I don’t actually know, I never thought about it. Maybe I would go to my dad’s factory, or something (laughs).

PI: Would you describe yourself as an introvert or extrovert?

BS: I think I am a more shy person.

PI: Who is someone you really look up to?

BS: It is definitely my dad, who I look up to as a person.

PI: Do you have any plans for the summer?

BS: I think in the National Team we have a clear goal. With the U18 to go to the World Championship, that is the goal for this summer.


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