The Epitaph Issue 3
Published: December 4, 2014
By Shauli Bar-On
Junior guard Daniel Israeli is one of the newest additions to Homestead’s varsity basketball team. Israeli has a very unique story, having moved from China to the United States at the start of his junior year.
Israeli was born in Israel and attended kindergarten there before moving to China at age six. His experience living in China has shaped his life and his love for basketball, making him who he is today.
Israeli attended a private school in China with mostly American and Canadian teachers. Compared to Homestead, Israeli said the school in China was “about the same,” with the major difference being the number of students.
There were just 200 students at his school in China, and Israeli had to adjust to a school with over 2,000 students when he moved. Due to the small number of students, “basketball friends were also school friends,” Israeli said.
Israeli first picked up a basketball when he was ten years old and played on his middle school team in China. In addition to adjusting to a new school with significantly more students, Israeli had to learn how to adjust from Chinese to American basketball.
“It was different in middle school because there [were] more practices than games and only one major tournament at the end [of the season],” Israeli said.
High school basketball in China was “much less competitive” than basketball here, Israeli said. There was an A and B team in the Chinese high school. Israeli said he made his way to the A team his sophomore year after playing on the B team his freshman year.
Israeli said practices here are much “more intense,” being five days a week for two hours each, compared to the three-day-a-week, 90-minute practices he was used to.
Israeli had always been a big NBA fan and tried to follow as many games as possible from China.
“China blocked many NBA games so I could only see games two or three days later,” Israeli said, “which is a long time.”
From China, Israeli loved catching Oklahoma City Thunder games and watching Kevin Durant play, but now that he lives in the Bay Area, he is a fan of Stephen Curry and the Warriors.
“There is a higher level of basketball here [in the United States],” Israeli said. “It is more challenging to compete.”