There have been quite a few historic men’s basketball winning streaks throughout history. The UCLA Bruins won 88 straight games in the early part of the 1970’s. We’ve also had a few teams in the last couple days reach the NCAA tournament undefeated, only to fall during March Madness. However, one impressively long winning streak just came to an end in the last week or so. Yeshiva University rattled off 50 consecutive victories in Division III, before finally falling to Illinois Wesleyan University at the end of December, 73-59.
The Maccabees, based out of New York City, had not lost since November 2019 before their most recent defeat. Senior Ryan Turell has been an integral part of the team’s success throughout the run, and is the leading scorer amongst all players in Division III. Even though he was enjoying the winning streak, he still wanted to put larger goals in perspective.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to win a national championship, and so we have to stay focused and stay humble, you know, you either are humbled or you get humbled,” Turell said. Via Algemeiner.com
There have even been rumblings that Turell could get a shot with some NBA teams once his Maccabee career comes to an end. He isn’t the only player contributing on a high level for Yeshiva, though. Gabriel Leifer has also had a solid career there, totaling over 500 assists during his time with the team.
With any successful college program, sometimes the ball needs to bounce a certain way, on or off the floor, and Yeshiva certainly lucked out with regards to its coaching situation. Head coach Elliott Steinmetz had an interesting first interaction with former athletic director Joe Bednarsh, which almost let the AD to take his search in a different direction.
“He didn’t do well on the hiring committee screening call,” Bednarsh said, recalling Steinmetz’s interview performance. “He obviously had an agenda, and instead of answering the questions I asked, he kept pivoting to the things he wanted to talk about…I can say now that I was woefully, embarrassingly wrong. He was trying to share his vision, and I didn’t get it.” Via ESPN.com
Fortunately for the program, Steinmetz was brought on, and the program has turned a corner. He takes a thoughtful, informed approach to recruiting, something that Leifer recalls quite vividly. The young player thought his most accomplished skill was shooting, or driving to the best, but the coach saw it differently.
“It’s the way you see the court,” Steinmetz told Leifer his best attribute was after one of his high school games. Via ESPN.com
While the 50 game winning streak has been snapped, there’s a lot of thought that has gone into the foundation that has been built at Yeshiva University. The talent they’ve brought into the program could yield some exciting things for the Maccabees in the postseason.