Basketball / Maccabi Tel Aviv Plucks Top Big Man From Gilboa/Galil

Two days after announcing the return of swingman Tal Burstein from his one-year exile in Spain, Maccabi Tel Aviv continued to bolster its contingent of Israeli players yesterday by signing power forward Elishay Kadir to a three-year contract.

The 22-year-old Kadir, who was also courted by Hapoel Jerusalem following his impressive championship-winning season with Super League top guns Hapoel Gilboa/Galil Elyon, will collect $200,000 per season for the life of the deal.

"This is another very important Israeli signing," said club chairman Shimon Mizrahi. "We very much enjoy accepting young, high-quality, vivacious players such as Elishay to our team."

Kadir was initially reluctant to join Maccabi for fear that he would not receive significant playing time. Yet intensive discussions between the player and his new coach, David Blatt, appear to have assuaged any doubts.

"I'm very happy that I have reached this place and this moment," Kadir said. "This is something that we dream about since childhood and suddenly it is reality. I hope to contribute greatly to Maccabi and to be an important part of the roster that is being constructed here."