After an upsetting 0-4 Sarachek run back in March, Ida Crown looked to reinvigorate the basketball program. Headed by Rabbi Yakov Danishefsky, a current Judaic Studies teacher at the Academy, the program looks like it is headed in a new direction. There are also two new assistant coaches who are looking forward to bringing Ida Crown back to its glory years: Dov Pinchot, a former Assistant Coach who facilitated the 2008 Boys Varsity team to a Tier I Sarachek win, and Lior Geft, who enjoys “long sunset walks on the beach, peanut butter chocolate milkshakes from Dairy Star, and defense.”

As part of his goals for the program, Rabbi Danishefsky hopes to create a new culture for the players, one which consists of a great work ethic, comradery, selflessness, and positivity. He also hopes to reinvigorate school spirit and make the school feel proud of the basketball program and feel like they are a part of it.

Although some parents and students have questioned the administration’s choice to have one person have multiple roles within ICJA, both as a teacher and a coach, Rabbi Danishefsky believes that this gives him a great opportunity to bond with the team by  blending basketball, life, and Judaism.

“Coaching is about the basketball, but it is also about the relationships and building people… Being a teacher and the head basketball coach allows me to do that better,” Rabbi Danishefsky said.

Junior Ben Miller shared his thoughts on the new coaches: “Usually when you have a new coach, it takes time to develop a connection and understand each other, but having people that we already know and are in our community allows us to grow as a team from the very start… That’s what’s going to  make us into one of the greatest teams in Ida Crown history.”

With Rabbi Danishefsky at the helm and Coach Geft and Coach Pinchot by his side, domination at Sarachek looks like it’s right around the corner.

This article by Yaakov Rosenberg originally appeared in The Crown Prints newspaper and was posted here with permission.