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A Gold Medal in the Holy Land

A Gold Medal in the Holy Land

  • Marc Chasin ’18 will captain the Ithaca College Men’s Basketball team this season and will bring the unique experience of representing his country to the floor with him.
  • Chasin won a gold medal with Team USA Basketball at the 20th Maccabiah Games this past summer, and was coached by Fox Sports basketball analyst and radio host Doug Gottlieb.
  • The Maccabiah Games are often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics”, taking place every four years in Israel and showcasing some of the best Jewish athletes from around the world.
Photo Jul 16, 10 18 08 PM
Marc Chasin ’18 After Winning Gold

The journey that had started months prior was continued with a text message from a Maccabi USA Basketball representative.

“He had texted me and said, ‘Do you have time to talk today, when’s a good time to call,'” Marc Chasin, a senior basketball captain at Ithaca College, recalls. “He called me and told me I made the team.”

Getting To Israel

In the fall of 2016, Chasin had gone down to New York City with Ithaca College Men’s Basketball assistant coach Sean Burton for a try out with Maccabi USA Basketball.

“It was kind of like an invite-type tryout where they reached out to probably somewhere between 50 to 70 Jewish basketball players that they were interested in seeing what their talent levels were like,” says Chasin.

Photo Sep 26, 7 43 01 PM
Maccabi USA Basketball 2017. Photo Courtesy of @GottliebShow

This wasn’t Chasin’s first experience with the Maccabi program. There are domestic games where young athletes can play for their city, and Chasin did just that by representing his home of Miami in 2010 and 2012. He also tried out for the Maccabi Under-18 team in 2013 as a 17-year-old high school player but did not make the final roster.

This time around, Chasin was among the final crop of players that would don the red, white and blue, and he was ecstatic about the opportunity.

“I had never been to Israel before, and getting to go and represent my country made it the most unbelievable experience, so I was definitely excited,” he says.  “I was excited to go to Israel, I was excited to get to play with people of the caliber that I played with.”

Jim Mullins, head coach of the Bombers, was also thrilled to learn of Chasin’s selection to the squad.

“I was really psyched to learn of Marc’s selection to the Maccabiah team. First, the honor of getting to represent our country on a worldwide stage,” he says. “And second, it meant that Marc was one of two Ithaca College basketball players who made the roster, the other being Travis Warech, class of 2013.”

Photo Jul 16, 10 22 22 PM
Travis Warech ’13 (L) & Chasin (R)

Playing For Team USA

Chasin says that the emotions of playing for his country affected him initially, but that he eventually found his rhythm.

“I guess that first emotion when I stepped out there, I kind of had the chills a little bit, like, ‘Wow, I’m actually in another country representing my country’, and that kind of got to me a little bit, but once the game settled in and I got up and down a few times those feelings went away and it was just basketball time.”

Mullins believes the time abroad will pay dividends for the point guard in his senior year.

“The experience of playing with, and against, higher level athletes can only aid in the development and improvement of any athlete, in any realm,” he says.

Chasin had quite the coach in Doug Gottlieb, a Fox Sports basketball analyst and radio host, and described him as “an interesting character”, a “great basketball mind” and “a player’s coach”.

Photo Sep 26, 7 43 51 PM
Doug Gottlieb

Jewish Faith

Many people describe spending time in Israel as spiritual, and Chasin is no exception to this.

“I don’t want to say that in terms of my faith and my Judaism that I wasn’t, I guess, connected to it all before I went,” he says. “But I would definitely say the trip to Israel definitely made a more of an impact on my life in terms of reconnecting with my faith. So I intend to continue to pursue my Jewish faith even more than I did before I went to Israel.”

Photo Sep 26, 8 31 10 PM
Chasin at the Masada Fortress. Photo Courtesy of @marcchasin

In addition to visiting holy sites around Israel, winning the gold medal while wearing “USA” on his chest is another thing Chasin will carry with him forever.

“The streamers came on, everyone came to the middle of the court, we started jumping around, it was all pretty surreal but it was something I’ll never forget.”

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