Rosen, Becker Prepare For Maccabiah Games

Click here to learn about the Maccabiah Games

2009 Maccabiah Games information

PHILADELPHIA - The 18th version of the World Maccabiah Games will take place June 12-23 in Israel, and the Penn men’s and women's basketball teams will be represented when sophomore guardsZack Rosen and Julie Becker suit up for the United States Open Men’s and Open Women's teams, respectively.

Sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” the Maccabiah Games are held every four years in Israel and attract the most outstanding Jewish athletes from around the world. As one of the largest elite competitions, the Maccabiah grew to more than 7,000 athletes from more than 50 countries in 2005. This year, more than 60 countries are expected to be represented by more than 9,000 athletes.

In basketball, there are competitions in junior boys’ (16 and under), junior girls’ (18 and under), youth men’s (18 and under), open men’s, open women’s, and masters men’s (40 and over).

Rosen -- who made the team after tryouts conducted last year -- was the Philadelphia Big 5 Rookie of the Year last season, and led the Ivy League in assists per game and assist/turnover ratio. He averaged 8.1 points per game and played a team-high 31.1 minutes per contest.

"It's an honor, I am really excited," Rosen told PSN's Brian Seltzer at La Salle University, where the men's team has been practicing this week. "It is important to me and my faith. To be honest with you, we practiced for the first time Sunday night and I looked down at the jersey and it said 'USA'...I just stopped. Like I said, it's an honor. It's going to be a great experience."

Becker, meanwhile, played in seven games last winter for the Penn women. She scored three points in 13 minutes of action in 2008-09.

"It's a huge honor to be chosen to play for this team and represent Team USA in the 18th Maccabiah Games," said Becker. "
I wanted to participate to become part of this great tradition of Jewish athletes. It means a lot to play for something so much bigger than myself. I'm really excited to represent my country among the best Jewish athletes in the world."

The USA’s Open Men’s team will be coached by Bruce Pearl, head coach at the University of Tennessee. The assistant coaches will be former Penn coordinator of basketball operations Harris Adler, now an assistant coach at La Salle, and ESPN personality Doug Gottlieb (formerly a standout player at Oklahoma State). On the women's side, David Stein will serve as head coach and Emily Feldman is the assistant.