DURHAM, N.H. – Center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.), who will be a junior on the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team this fall, left for Israel on July 3 to compete in the 18th Maccabiah Games as one of 12 members of the United States men’s basketball team.
The Maccabiah Games, which kick off July 13 and run through July 23, are the third largest sporting event in the world behind the Summer and Winter Olympics. Sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” the Maccabiah Games are held in Israel every four years and include the top Jewish athletes from around the world.
The U.S. basketball team will get things started on Tuesday, July 14 when it takes on Mexico at 1 p.m. EST. The U.S. will then battle France on July 15 at 11 a.m. before playing Russia on July 19 at 11 a.m. and wrapping up round-robin play July 20 at 9 a.m. versus Argentina. If the U.S. finishes first or second in their bracket, it will play in a semifinal game July 21 at either 9 or 11 a.m. The championship game will be July 22 at noon. The other bracket includes Germany, Canada, Greece, Brazil and Israel.
Those with DIRECTV can watch the games on channel 366, while those with Time Warner Cable can watch the games on channel 120 in New York and New Jersey, channel 137 in the Hudson Bay area and channel 491 in San Antonio. Fans without these providers can still watch the games free online at www.jltv.tv, and can also follow the results at www.maccabiah.com.
DiLiegro, whose roommates are former Stanford Cardinal and New York Knick Dan Grunfeld and former St. Mary’s (Calif.) Gael Todd Golden, also joins Duke’s Jon Scheyer and Arizona State’s Derek Glasser on the team, which won gold in 2001 and bronze at the previous Games in 2005. By playing for the U.S. squad, DiLiegro joins some elite company, including Dolph Schayes, one of the 50 Greatest NBA players of all-time, Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown, and Mark Spitz, who won a then-record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, an achievement surpassed only when Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of the 2008 Olympics.
DiLiegro became the sixth UNH athlete to make a team in the Maccabiah Games, including the first basketball player, after he traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., in June 2008 to partake in the two-a-day tryouts for four days. DiLiegro was one of about 40 players at the tryout, including the only college big man.
The 17th Maccabiah Games in 2005 attracted the largest Maccabiah attendance in history, with over 50 countries represented by 7,700 athletes, including 900 from the U.S. This year, the U.S. will have close to 1,000 of the 8,300 athletes participating, including Olympic athletes such as swimmers Dara Torres and Jason Lezak.