Gal Mekel (Hebrew: גל מקל‎‎, pronounced [ˈɡal meˈkel]; born March 4, 1988)[1] is an Israeli professional basketball player for Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League.

He played college basketball for two years at Wichita State. He then played in the Israeli Basketball Super League for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Gilboa Galil, and Maccabi Haifa, and in the Italian Serie A League for Benetton Treviso. He was a two-time Israeli Basketball Super League MVP, in 2011 and 2013.

In 2013, he signed a three-year minimum fully guaranteed contract with the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the second Israeli to join the NBA.

Early life

Mekel is Jewish, and was born in Ramat HaSharon to Alon and Ariela Mekel, Israeli Jews.[2][3] He has four brothers and two sisters.[3] He attended Alliance High School in Tel Aviv.[4]

He started his way in the Hapoel Tel Aviv youth team. Shortly after, he moved to the A.S. Ramat HaSharon youth team where he demonstrated a good playmaking ability. His ability caught the eyes of basketball giant Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he moved at the age of 17, and subsequently won the 2005–06 Israeli Youth League.

College career

Mekel played college basketball for two years at Wichita State.[3] In his rookie season (2006–07), by mid-season he was promoted to starter. He finished his first season with averages of 13 minutes and four points per game.

In the 2007–08 season, Mekel improved his stats to 9.3 ppg and 3.7 apg while playing more than 30 minutes per game. Despite his improvement he decided to leave the team after that season.

College career statistics

College season averages[5]
Season Team G PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% MIN
2006–07 Wichita State Shockers 31 4.0 1.1 1.7 0.5 0.0 .443 .354 .647 13.0
2007–08 31 9.3 3.2 3.7 0.4 0.1 .354 .287 .877 30.7

Professional career

Maccabi Tel Aviv

On March 28, 2008, Mekel signed his first professional contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv, for the remainder of the 2007–08 season.[6]

Hapoel Gilboa Galil

For the 2008–09 season, Maccabi loaned Mekel to Hapoel Gilboa Galil, an Israeli club that is known for promoting young talents, in order to receive some playing experience and return better the next year. In Galil, he averaged 6.9 points and 2.7 assists per game. He excelled in the league quarter-finals against Hapoel Holon, helping his team reach the Final Four where they lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Mekel ended up winning the best newcomer award.[7]

Return to Tel Aviv

After a good season with Galil, Mekel returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv. They designated him the point guard substitute spot, behind newcomer Doron Perkins who won the Israeli league MVP award the previous season.[8] Mekel recorded 13 points and 5 assists in his debut game with Maccabi Tel Aviv against Ironi Nahariya, in the second round of the 2009–10 Israeli League.[9] In December 2009, he asked to be loaned out again after the minority of minutes he was receiving.

Return to Galil

Mekel was loaned back to Gilboa/Galil, just 6 months after he finished his first loan to the same team.[10] In Galil, Mekel shared the point guard position with Jeremy Pargo. Together, they led Galil to their second Israeli league title after surprising Maccabi in the final. Mekel was a key member in the team averaging 7.5 points and 4.3 assists in 25.5 minutes per game.

In 2010, Mekel got offers from Bnei HaSharon and Maccabi Haifa, but decided to stay in Galil, signing a one-year contract.[11] He played with the team in the Euroleague 2010–11 qualifying rounds, but didn't help the team to pass the first round, where they were eliminated by KK Hemofarm from Serbia. On domestic level, Mekel led Galil to the 2nd place at the end of the regular season. They went all the way to repeat last season final against Maccabi, but this time they lost. Mekel also had a great individual season which concluded in winning the Israeli League MVP Award,[12] and appearing in the 2011 BSL All-Star Game.

Benetton Treviso

On July 5, 2011, Mekel signed a two-year contract with Italian team Benetton Treviso.[13] With Benetton, he reached the 2011–12 Eurocup Last 16, and finished 11th in the 2011–12 Serie A. He averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 assists on domestic and 4 points with 2 assists on international stage. At the end of the season, the club dissolved due to financial debts.

Maccabi Haifa

At the start of the 2012–13 season, Mekel wanted to stay in Europe but also had tryouts with the Utah Jazz,[14] however after not receiving a sufficient offer, he agreed terms with Maccabi Haifa.[15] Mekel led the team to the 2nd place in the end of the regular season, and to the cup final where they lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Haifa got another chance at a title when they reached the league's final which has been held in their home court Romema Arena. The Greens went on to win the match and the championship after a great performance from Mekel: 21 points and 7 assists[16] after he received the Israeli League MVP award which he won a night before.[17]

Dallas Mavericks

On July 11, 2013, the Dallas Mavericks signed Mekel to a three-year minimum fully guaranteed contract, and he became the second Israeli to join the NBA.[18][19] Mekel played with the Mavericks in the 2013 NBA Summer League, and finished with averages of 9.7 points and 5 assists per game.[20]

In his debut regular season game for the Mavs on October 30, 2013, Mekel recorded 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists in a 118–109 win over the Atlanta Hawks.[21] Two Israeli players played on opposing NBA teams for the first time on November 1 when Mekel and the Mavericks played Omri Casspi and the Rockets. The two had been teammates on the Israeli Under-16, Under-18, and Under-20 teams, and on the Maccabi Tel Aviv junior team.[22][23] In that game, the Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks 113-105 in Houston. Casspi scored 12 points in 21 minutes, and Mekel scored 11 points and dished off 6 assists in 23 minutes in his best NBA game to date. On November 30, he started in his first NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and scored 6 points and dished off 7 assists in 26 minutes. The Mavs lost that game though, 106-112. After the game on January 13, 2014, Mekel was placed on the injured list due to a torn meniscus in his right knee, which required surgery and at least 4–6 weeks of recovery.[24]

On March 4, 2014, Mekel was assigned to the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League.[25] On March 9, he was recalled by the Mavericks.[26] On March 15, he was reassigned to the Legends.[27] He was recalled three days later.

On October 29, 2014, Mekel was waived by the Mavericks.[28]

New Orleans Pelicans

On December 5, 2014, Mekel signed a two-year, non-guaranteed contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.[29][30] However, he was later waived by the Pelicans on December 19 after appearing in just four games.[31]

Nizhny Novgorod

On February 24, 2015, Mekel moved to Russia and signed with Nizhny Novgorod until the end of the 2015–16 season.[32] Nizhny Novgorod's 2014–15 VTB United League season was ended after being eliminated by CSKA Moscow 3–0 in their semi-final series. In July 2015, he parted ways with Nizhny.[33]

Crvena zvezda

On August 27, 2015, Mekel signed a one-year contract with Serbian team Crvena zvezda.[34]

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high

Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2013–14 Dallas 31 1 9.4 .349 .250 .667 .9 2.0 .1 .0 2.4
2014–15 New Orleans 4 0 10.8 .150 .0 .0 .3 3.3 .5 .0 1.5
Career 35 1 9.6 .311 .217 .667 .8 2.2 .2 .0 2.3

Euroleague

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2014–15 Nizhny Novgorod 6 0 20.7 .482 .286 .824 2.3 4.7 .7 .0 11.7 11.7
Career 6 0 20.7 .482 .286 .824 2.3 4.7 .7 .0 11.7 11.7

Personal

Since 2008, Mekel has been in a relationship with fashion model Danyelle Sims,[35] the daughter of the former basketball player Willie Sims.[36] In 2014, he engaged in fashion modelling himself.[36]

References

  1. ^ Gal Mekel NBA & ABA Stats
  2. ^ Ramati, Stan (September–October 2013). "Israeli Sports". Jewish Sports Review. 9 (99): 9. 
  3. ^ a b c "#1 Gal Mekel". GoShockers.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Oliver, Ron. "Gal Mekel National and High School Stats, Dallas Mavericks". Basketball.realgm.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Gal Mekel Stats – Wichita State". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Maccabi inks guard prospect Mekel". Euroleague.net. March 28, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ "The 2008/09 BSL Season Awards". Basket.co.il. May 16, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Maccabi puts Perkins, Mekel at point". Euroleague.net. August 30, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ "BOX SCORE: Maccabi T-A Vs Nahariya – Winner League". Basket.co.il. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Maccabi releases guard Gal Mekel on loan". Euroleague. December 2, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Galil holds on to point guard Mekel". Euroleague.net. August 11, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ Summary of 2010–11 Israeli Basketball (Hebrew)
  13. ^ "Benetton Treviso announces Gal Mekel". Sportando.net. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Jazz impressed by Israel's Mekel". ESPN. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  15. ^ Art-Up. "Gal Mekel joins Maccabi Haifa". Mhbasket.co.il. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Finals Game 1: Maccabi T-A – Maccabi Haifa 79–86". Eurobasket.com. June 13, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ In 2011, in was not enough to him, Gal Mekel was named player of the year (Hebrew)
  18. ^ "Mavs sign Israeli League MVP guard Mekel". NBA.com. July 11, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Dollars and Sense: Gal Mekel". ESPN.com. September 6, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  20. ^ "2013 Summer League Statistics". NBA.com. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Notebook: Mavericks 118, Hawks 109". Nba.com. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ Zeevi, Elad (November 2, 2013). "Casspi and Mekel both shine in first-ever Israeli NBA face-off". Haaretz. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Ultimate Rockets » Historic meeting for Gal Mekel and Omri Casspi". chron.com. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  24. ^ Dallas Mavericks' Gal Mekel out after knee surgery
  25. ^ MAVERICKS ASSIGN GAL MEKEL TO TEXAS LEGENDS
  26. ^ Mavs recall Gal Mekel from D-League
  27. ^ Mavs recall Shane Larkin, re-assign Gal Mekel to D-League
  28. ^ Mavericks sign J.J. Barea, waive Gal Mekel
  29. ^ Pelicans Sign Gal Mekel
  30. ^ Newly signed Pelicans' Gal Mekel aiming to impact games with his passing
  31. ^ Pelicans Waive Gal Mekel
  32. ^ "Nizhny Novgorod adds guard Mekel". Euroleague.net. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  33. ^ Gal Mekel pays $50.000 and leaves Nizhny Novogorod
  34. ^ "Crvena Zvezda tabs Mekel for backcourt". Euroleague.net. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  35. ^ גברת עם סלים. Mako.co.il (in Hebrew). October 23, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b Steinberg, Jessica (September 16, 2014). "Mekel, the maverick model". TimesOfIsrael.com. Retrieved November 28, 2014. 

External links