Gabriel Leifer has capped off the DRS Wildcats’ undefeated season with his selection as the 2015-16 Jewish Hoops America (JHA) Player of the Year.
Leifer topped the ballots of all but two of the voting coaches. The 6-foot-4 senior forward led the Wildcats to the #1 JHA ranking for a 33-0 campaign that included a Metropolitan Yeshiva High School Athletic League championship and titles at the Sarachek, Cooper, Satran and Magen David tournaments.
DRS Coach Avrum Stein was voted the Coach of the Year. Sophomore guard Ben Tal of Hebrew Academy-Miami is the Underclassman of the Year.
This was the 10th year that Jewish Hoops America has honored top players and coaches from Jewish high schools across the United States and Canada.
Leifer was also selected a 1st team All-Jewish Hoops American last year, when he fi nished third in the balloting. This year, he became the first Wildcat to pass 1,000 career points and finished the season averaging
20.5 points per game.
Joining him on the 1st Team are juniors Bryan Knapp of Jewish Day School in Maryland and Ethan Lasko of Yeshiva High School in Florida and sophomores Tal and Ryan Turell of Valley Torah in California.
Making the 2nd Team were Yeshiva League seniors Abie Perlow of HAFTR (finishing sixth in the voting for the second straight season) and Andrew Langer of Frisch; juniors Alan Gindi of YULA and Jeffrey Owen of Cooper Memphis, and sophomore Joey Levy of Posnack Jewish Day in Florida..
The 3rd Team includes seniors Aaron Brandeis of Heschel, Yoni Gelb of Maimonides and Tai Gerzberg of TABC, and juniors Eitan Halpert of Shalhevet and Yaakob Bendayan of Or Chaim-Toronto.
Honorable Mentions are seniors Yoav Deutsch of DRS, Jacob Dauer of Shalhevet, Daniel Hami of YULA, Isaac Beda of Hillel- NJ, Tyler Cohen of Emery Weiner, Noah Susskind of Golda Och, Steve Levine of Yavneh Dallas, Sam Schwartzben of Heschel, Ethan Frank of Ida Crown and Brandon Averitt of Tarbut vTorah, junior Eitan Drazin of HA Montreal and sophomore Jack Esformes of HA Miami.
While 16 of the awardees were seniors, seven of the top 10 were sophomores and juniors. There had never been more than four non-seniors on the 1st and 2nd teams in any previous year.
Stein coached the Wildcats to their first-ever #1 JHA ranking and their second Yeshiva League title in four years. Runner-up for Coach of the Year was Heschel’s Evan Pickman, followed by Osborne Gardner of Fuchs Mizrachi. Also considered
were Ryan Coleman of Shalhevet, Jon Shogan of JCHS-San Francisco and Bryan White of Yeshiva High School-Boca.
Tal, the top underclassman, averaged 23.8 points per game and was JHA’s second leading scorer for the season. He edged out Turell and Levy for the award.
1ST TEAM ALL-JEWISH HOOPS AMERICA
Gabriel Leifer, Senior, DRS/Lawrence,NY
Bryan Knapp, Junior, Charles E. Smith
Jewish Day School/Rockville,MD
Ben Tal, Sophomore, RASG Hebrew
Ethan Lasko, Junior, Yeshiva High
Ryan Turell, Sophomore, Valley Torah/Valley Village,CA
2ND TEAM ALL-JEWISH HOOPS AMERICA
Abie Perlow, Senior, HAFTR/Cedarhurst,NY
Andrew Langer, Senior, Frisch/Paramus,NJ
Jeffrey Owen, Junior, Cooper Yeshiva/Memphis/TN
Alan Gindi, Junior, YULA/Los Angeles,CA
Joey Levy, Sophomore,Posnack Jewish Day/Davie,FL
3RD TEAM ALL-JEWISH HOOPS AMERICA
Tai Gerzberg, Senior, TABC/Teaneck,NJ
Eitan Halpert, Junior, Shalhevet/Los Angeles,CA
Aaron Brandeis, Senior, Heschel/New York,NY
Yoni Gelb, Senior, Maimonides/Brookline,NY
Yaakob Bendayan, Junior, Yeshivat Or
Jack Esformes, Sophomore, RASG Hebrew Academy/Miami Beach,FL
Yoav Deutsch, Senior, DRS/Lawrence,NY
Jacob Dauer, Senior, Shalhevet/Los Angeles,CA
Daniel Hami, Senior, YULA/Los Angeles,CA
Isaac Beda, Senior, Hillel/Deal,NJ
Tyler Cohen, Senior, Emery Weiner/Houston,TX
Noah Susskind, Senior, Golda Och/West Orange,NJ
Steve Levine, Senior, Yavneh Academy/Dallas,TX
Sam Schwartzben, Senior, Heschel/New York,NY
Eitan Drazin, Junior, Hebrew Academy/Montreal,QC
Ethan Frank, Senior, Ida Crown/Chicago,IL
Brandon Averitt, Senior, Tarbut vTorah/Irvine,CA
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2015 - Josh Newlander, Chicagoland Jewish
2014 - Josh Newlander, Chicagoland Jewish
2013 - Zach Yoshor, Beren-Houston
2012 - Jack Gindi, YULA
2011 - Yisrael Feld, MTA and Jack Gindi, YULA
2010 - Eric Avdee, Tarbut vTorah
2009 - Eitan Chemerinski, Jewish Day School-MD
2008 - Jordan Marcus, Solomon Schechter-NJ
2007 - Solomon Schoonover, Hillel-Miami
COACH OF THE YEAR
2015 - Joe Schwartz, Frisch
2014 - Dwight Hollins, Fuchs Mizrachi
2013 - Marty Dello, Chicagoland Jewish
2012 - Richard Lewis, Cooper-Memphis
2011 - Rafi Halpert, SAR
2010 - Patrick Roberts, Tarbut vTorah
2009 - Elliot Steinmetz, HANC
2008 - Howard Braun, Ida Crown
2007 - Howard Braun, Ida Crown
2015-16 FINAL JHA RANKINGS
2.Shalhevet/Los Angeles,CA 27-8
3.YULA/Los Angeles,CA 24-11
4.Milken/Los Angeles,CA 16-11
5.Valley Torah/Valley Village,CA 20-8
6.Heschel/New York,NY 21-4
7.Yeshiva High School/Boca Raton,FL...24-7
10.Jewish Day School/Rockville,MD 23-3
12.RASG HA Miami/Miami Beach,FL 17-11
14.DeToledo/West Hills,CA 20-14
17.Jewish Comm. HS/San Fran,CA 19-5
21.Yavneh Academy/Dallas,TX 21-12
22.Cooper Yeshiva/Memphis,TN 18-8
23.Ida Crown/Chicago,IL 10-15
24.Fasman Yeshiva/Skokie, IL 13-6
26. tieTarbut vTorah/Irvine,CA 14-10
TOP SCORING AVERAGES, 2015-16
Ethan Lasko Yeshiva HS-Boca 31 770 24.8
Ben Tal HA Miami 24 571 23.8
Ryan Turell Valley Torah 26 606 23.3
Joey Levy Posnack Jewish Day 19 436 22.9
Yoni Gelb Maimonides 24 526 21.9
Bryan Knapp JDS-MD 26 546 21.0
Brandon Averitt Tarbut vTorah 24 494 20.6
Gabriel Leifer DRS 32 656 20.5
Isaac Beda Hillel-NJ 17 343 20.2
Jeff rey Owen Cooper Memphis 27 521 19.3