By: Rina Shamilov  | 

Ryan Turell, All-Time Scorer for the YU Maccabees, Debuts in G League

Ryan Turell (SSSB ‘22) made his debut for the NBA’s G League affiliate the Motor City Cruise at Wayne State Fieldhouse on Nov. 7. The team played against the Windy City Bulls, losing 125–109.

Turell was drafted number 27 overall following a strong record playing for Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team, the Maccabees. Turell has previously expressed hopes to join the NBA as its first Orthodox Jewish player.

The relationship between the G League and the NBA is set up so that players can transfer from one league to the other. 47% of this season’s NBA players have had G League experience. Turell, through his drafting for the G League, is now close to achieving his dream of joining the NBA.

“The @YUNews legend,” tweeted the NBA G League, referencing Yeshiva University’s Twitter name, “is looking to become the first Orthodox Jew in NBA History.” The tweet was posted a day after Turell played his first game. 

Turell only played for three minutes in that game and his only shot did not score. He has since scored ten points.

Turell possesses the record for most points in YU history with 2,158 points. In his final season at YU, Turell led the NCAA across all divisions in scoring, averaging 27.1 points per game. He also helped his team secure a 50-game winning streak, leading the Macs to rank number one in Division III for a time.

As an Orthodox Jew in the sporting arena, joining the minor league NBA team has caused religious concerns for Turell — his Shabbat observance makes it difficult for him to participate in practices. The Motor City Cruise, affiliated with the Detroit Pistons, has reportedly been immensely supportive of Turell’s religious practices.

Turell, who is Shabbat observant, has no objections to playing the sport on Shabbat, but avoids other activities, such as traveling, on the Jewish day of rest. The Cruise stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the site of their Friday night opener. But because Turell would be staying back an extra night — so as to avoid traveling on Shabbat — they provided him with kosher meals and a hot plate, along with a separate ride home. Turell did not play in that game. 

His father, Brad Turell, shared with the Forward that “The Pistons/Cruise organization has been amazing in every aspect of not only respecting Ryan’s religious followings, but helping enable it in the most accommodating way.”

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Photo Caption: Ryan Turell has begun to play for the Motor City Cruise

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University Athletics