Monday, August 29, 2011

DJ Strawberry Signs with Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem

DJ Strawberry (2003-07) has signed to play this season (translation) with Israel's Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. In addition to the Israeli Premier League, Hapoel is also slated to play in the international Eurocup tournament this season. The team's press release says:
After negotiations, Hapoel Jerusalem announces the signing of American point guard DJ Strawberry (26 years old, 1.96m) for
two years.

Coach Oded Katash said, "DJ is a hungry, young player who wants to play here in Jerusalem. He is a quick and athletic player that will add to an excellent team. He is a physical player and one of the significant features of his game is strong defense."

Strawberry, a graduate of the University of Maryland, started with the NBA Development League last season and then moved to Veritas Vilnius, where he played in the Euroleague, averaging 6.6 points and 2.8 assists in less than 17 minutes per game. In 2007, he was drafted by Phoenix with the 59th pick, and his resume also has a short stay in Italy. Strawberry finished with 2.2 points and one assist in eight minutes per game for the Suns. In total he played 33 games in NBA.

According to this interview with Strawberry from Eurobasket, the two year deal is a one month try-out, probably followed by a one year contract with an option for a second year. Go read the interview; here's an excerpt:
"Last year I had to play the unfamiliar point guard position for the first time in my career. It was an interesting experience but this season I'm looking forward to getting back into the mix of playing the combo-guard spot I'm used to."

Now, after signing a potential 1+1 year deal with Israeli Hapoel Jerusalem, Strawberry has the month of September to raise some eyebrows in the Holy Land and prove his doubters wrong, starting with the team's coaching staff. "The one month try-out doesn't really matter to me," Strawberry exclusively told Eurobasket, "I know what I'm capable of doing on the court, so, as long as I play my game, perform the way I know I can and prove my doubters wrong, I'll be fine and the contract terms don't concern me."

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