Ryan Turell, a former basketball star at Yeshiva University, made a significant advancement on Saturday toward his goal of becoming the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA.
The Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons’ G League affiliate team, selected Turell with the 27th overall pick in the draft. Turell, who went undrafted during the NBA draft in June, is now formally a member of an NBA team and has advanced toward the pinnacle of professional basketball.
Although participation in the G League does not ensure NBA eligibility, Turell may be called up to fill up for an injured or underwhelming player.
Later in the season, he might get a chance to start on the bench.
Turell’s chances of moving up from Division III of the NCAA to the NBA were already considered remote, and his attempts were further hampered by injury.
Turell was scheduled to participate in the G League combine in May, a scouting event for players who were not selected for the NBA Draft, but he had to withdraw due to an injury he suffered during a workout.
He could not participate in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas due to his injury.
The 6-foot-7 guard, who led Y.U. to the DIII player of the year award, is now playing.
His professional career will start when the G League season gets underway on November 4.
As long as he can walk from his hotel to the game, Turell, a devout Jew, said he intends to play on Shabbat.
Since the 1970s, Jewish players have been hard to find in the NBA. Deni Avdija, an Israeli forward who plays for the Washington Wizards, and Omri Casspi, a former professional, both had time in the NBA.
Jewish star player Dolph Schayes played in the early years of the current NBA.