Hey There! From Israel
Four months after earning the WNBA’s Most Improved Player Award for 2008, Indiana Fever forward Ebony Hoffman is knee-deep in her fourth season overseas.
Hoffman, who played in Italy in 2005-06, Lithuania in 2006-07, and Turkey last winter, is playing this year in Israel for Ramat Hasharon, near the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv. Averaging 12.4 points per game and a team-leading 6.4 rebounds, Hoffman is helping her club to a first-place tie atop the league standings in Israel. She was named the league’s MVP for Week 8, backed by a 21-point, 11-rebound performance against Ashdod.
Hoffman took time out from her travels to answer a few questions for FeverBasketball.com, via email. Even before the questions began, the outgoing, outspoken, always-enthusiastic Hoffman proclaimed, “Hey there everyone!!!”
FeverBasketball.com: How are some other notable WNBA players that you’re playing with this winter – both on your team and throughout the league in Israel?
Ebony Hoffman: “There are actually quite a few WNBA players over here at the moment. One person that sticks out is Charde Houston who is having an unbelievable season to date. The other WNBA players that are on my team are Erin Phillips and Jia Perkins, two very good teammates to have.”
FB: Have you played against Tan White or Sherill Baker yet? If so, what happened?
EH: “I have played against both Sherill and Tan – and I'm proud to say that my team won both games! :) [Please hold the applause. LOL]”
FB: Has the love of your life (aka, Ron) been overseas to visit yet?
EH: “Ahhhhhhh the love of my life! Yes, he was here for the beginning of the season and will be back shortly, and I really can’t wait. I miss him every second of every day!!”
FB: Describe the geography surrounding your new city and arena?
EH: “Well, I live in the city Ramat Hasharon, which is located about 10 minutes from Tel Aviv. I know many of you are wondering if I am close the war or the bombs. I can reassure you that I am far away from the conflict. My location in regards to the fighting is that I'm in the north and the fight is more south. That’s not to say that something couldn’t reach me – but hey we should all have a little faith, right?”
FB: I have heard that Israeli culture is actually similar to that of America. What are some of the cultural differences between playing for your team in Israel, and playing in Indianapolis.
EH: “Israel is so much like America you almost forget where you are. Everyone speaks English and there are many American chain restaurants around. Not that it's a good thing. They have many different varieties of food which is truly amazing. The culture here is somewhat different, but not too much. The team here is one of the most professional teams that I have ever played for overseas. My coaches are advocates for women’s rights, so it’s kind of like a women's movement all the time here. LOL”
FB: How often do you have contact with any of your Fever teammates?
EH: “I have regular contact with almost all of my teammates. You have to stay connected to make sure everyone is doing ok – and you never know whose advice or help you might need!”
FB: Besides winning a championship, what is one thing you wish you could have changed about your 2008 summer with the Fever?
EH: “The one thing I wish I could change is, I wish we could have had more practice time and game time with everyone so that our chemistry on the court could have been better, and with that comes a possible championship.”
FB: Besides actually being named the WNBA’s Most Improved Player last summer, what was your biggest highlight from last summer?
EH: “The biggest highlight of last summer would have to be, for me, Lin Dunn being the head coach.”
FB: As the league’s reigning Most Improved Player, what component of your game do you want to improve again for 2009?
EH: “Well, I want to be a reliable and constant force on the court. I will expand my game further and I can’t release all the details of my new game, but you will definitely love what you see!”
FB: Happy Anniversary! I know you celebrated your first anniversary with Ron on Oct. 20. How did you celebrate?
EH: “Yes, I did celebrate my first anniversary this past year, but it was quite different. We celebrated with a candle lit dinner and video chat so we could see each other as we ate. Skype is definitely a life-saver!”