After a very vocal back-and-forth in the media with Head Coach Sharon Drucker, it comes as no surprise that NBA veteran Craig Smith (201 cm, Boston College’06) will soon be leaving Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. In a response to Smith’s statements in an interview that the coaching staff “did not know how to use him,”
“I know that someone in the club will be angry after my words, but if I talk to the media maybe something will change. I just don’t understand why coach Sharon Drucker chose me if he does not know how to use me. Many times I do not feel involved in the team or I do not play the key moments of the game and it is frustrating for me. We are a very talented group but we have no identity and the staff is not adequate. I don’t speak for the other players, but you can see the frustration and anger among my teammates. We are a very talented group. When we lose, attacking the players for their poor performances is the main excuse used. If the fans asked the management to fire coach Drucker there is a reason, but the decision is up to the management. I wish I would have signed in Maccabi Tel Aviv last October so I’d have the chance to play in Euroleague too. I am not saying we are giving up, we are ready to fight because things must change” said Smith.
Coach Drucker fired back with his own statements:
“Signing him in Jerusalem was my biggest mistake. I thought he would be dominant in Europe but I was wrong. I am speachless for his interview. I never had problems with foreigner players and my 14-year career as coach showed that. Smith has been a coward giving that interview. The situation here is not simple. Maccabi signed wrong players last summer but they replaced them. I try to work with patient with the players and I have never attacked any of them, even after tough losses. Smith is a talented player and I thought he could have been our leader but with the interview he tried to lead a rebellion against me. I spoke with management and they game me full support. We invested a lot of money on Smith but I made a big mistake” said Drucker
So this tenuous relationship has finally come to an end, with Smith set to leave the team very soon. Smith had been averaging 13.5 ppg and 6.4 rpg in 19 games for Hapoel J-M.