Yeshiva U basketball star set on becoming NBA’s first Orthodox Jew

Last year Ryan Turell began turning heads with his impressive play, then the pandemic hit and the season was cancelled.

Tags: Basketball
Dan Verbin ,

Basketball (illustrative)
Basketball (illustrative)

In March of last year, Ryan Turell, a sophomore combo guard for the Yeshiva University Maccabees basketball squad, began turning heads with his impressive play, scoring 71 points in Division III NCAA tournament victories, and leading his team to the Sweet 16. Then the pandemic hit and the tournament was cancelled.

Turell, whose parents converted to Orthodox Judaism before he was born, began to receive national attention during the games with a striking field goal percentage of 77 percent. The 6’7 player told the Las Angeles Times that he “was in shock” when news came that the season was over. “We had this amazing season without an ending, and I didn’t know how to process it.”

Harold Katz, the former coach of Tamir Goodman, the Israeli-American who was given the nickname the “Jewish Jordan” by Sports Illustrated, called Turell a “Swiss Army knife” for his impressive all around skills on the court in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

So far several NBA teams have requested footage of Turell, who this season picked up where he left off in last year’s aborted play. He currently leads the Maccabees in scoring after seven games.

The team also has the country’s longest active winning streak at 37 games, in large part thanks to Turrel, who is being called the next “Jewish Jordan.”

“We just kept winning,” Turrel told Fox5 New York speaking about the record streak. “Right now, we just got to take it one game at a time.”