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March 15, 2022 11:25 am
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Yeshiva University’s Ryan Turell to Enter 2022 NBA Draft, Hopes to Be First Orthodox Jewish Basketball Pro

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Ryan Turell. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Yeshiva University’s star basketball player Ryan Turell will give up his final year of college and enter the 2022 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

“My full intention is to play professional basketball next year,” said Turell, who hopes to be the NBA’s first Orthodox Jewish basketball player. “I want to get into as many NBA gyms as possible and show them what I can do. I’ve got to knock down shots and be a great defender and teammate.”

The Los Angeles native and 6-foot-7 guard is the leading scorer in college basketball across all divisions, averaging 27.1 points, according to ESPN. He wears a kippah on the court with his YU team, the Maccabees, and plans to continue doing so if he becomes a professional athlete.

“Being the first Orthodox Jew in the NBA would mean the world to me, and a dream come true, God willing,” he told the outlet. “But, just as importantly, it would mean the world to others that never saw this as a possibility.”

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Turell, who was twice named Skyline Conference player of the year, has scored more than 2,000 points — the most in Yeshiva University’s history, even as his sophomore and junior seasons were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been scouted by NBA teams, and several owners, executives and former players have attended YU games in New York to watch him play.

ESPN noted that although Turell is currently not expected to be selected in the 2022 draft, he “could gain steam during the pre-draft process in private team workouts or showcases like the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which says he is under consideration to be invited to.”

This season saw the Maccabees take the top spot in the NCAA Division III rankings, winning the Skyline Conference championship earlier in March. The team also reeled off 50 straight wins between November 2019 and December 2021 — the longest winning streak in men’s college basketball.

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