The Yeshiva Mighty Mites and Maccabees (they officially changed their name from the Mighty Mites in the 1970s) basketball team compiled a record of 133-293 during the 1970s and 1980s, but their records did not reflect the top-tier talent that they possessed, as Yeshiva intentionally scheduled tougher matchups. During these 20 years, there were many Yeshiva all-time leading scorers, a couple of top rebounders, and even a player drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Note: Many years and specific statistics may be missing due to incomplete data from the earlier years of Yeshiva basketball. All statistics are compiled from yumacs.com, previous YU Commentators, Coach Jonathan Halpert’s book, YU statistics pages, or internet pages.
Paul Merlis (1972-1973, 1974-1976)
One of the best rebounders Yeshiva has ever seen, Paul Merlis averaged over 15 rebounds per game in his first year with the Mighty Mites. After spending a year in Israel, Merlis rejoined the Maccabees (as they were now named) and without skipping a beat, led the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game. In his final season with the Macs, Merlis led the team in two major statistics: scoring (for the second straight season, with 17.1 PPG) and rebounding (10.5 RPG), while placing second in assists (2.1 assists per game). Furthermore, in that last season, Merlis became the first YU athlete to lead the NCAA in any major statistical category in any sport, pacing the NCAA in field goal percentage and netting 66.8% of his shots.
Fun Fact: Merlis’ son Shuki was part of the Macs in the mid-2000s, serving as the captain in his senior year.
Robert Rosenbloom (1974-1978)
Robert “Rosey” Rosenbloom was one of the greatest scorers to grace the floor for YU. In his second year with the Maccabees, Rosenbloom placed second on the team in scoring with 14.4 PPG (only behind Merlis’ 17.1) while shooting with a very efficient 52% field goal percentage and 67.5% free throw percentage, grabbing 4.4 RPG, and dishing out 1.4 APG. In his junior season, Rosenbloom improved all across the board, as he led the team in scoring (20.7 PPG, on 55.9% FG, and 73.2% FT) while averaging 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game. In his 81 games for Yeshiva, Rosenbloom finished with 1247 points (for a career point per game average of 15.4), ranking him fourth on the all-time Yeshiva scoring list.
Fun Fact: Rosenbloom was interviewed by Channel 4 News during his senior year at Yeshiva due to his fantastic play.
David Kufeld (1976-1980)
David “Koof” Kufeld graduated in 1980 with many Yeshiva records, including the most rebounds in Yeshiva’s history (1222), the highest career RPG (15.1, the fifth-best mark in DIII history), and the fourth-most points in school history (1250). Furthermore, in two straight seasons, Kufeld led the entire DIII in rebounds (“only” leading the Independent Athletic Conference, or the IAC, in the other two seasons) and still has two of the top rebounding seasons in YU’s history. Kufeld was also named the National Jewish Player of the Year for DII and DIII in two straight seasons. Until Gabe Leifer, Kufeld held the distinction as the only player to average a double-double for four seasons of his YU career, finishing with career averages of over 15 points and 15 rebounds per game.
Fun Fact: David Kufeld holds the honor of being the only Yeshiva player to ever get drafted into the NBA, getting picked 205th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1980 (whose owner, Paul Allen, was Jewish). However, Kufeld wasn’t good enough to make it out of training camp and decided to play in Israel instead; he was eventually selected to play for the Israeli national team. A month or two before being drafted, Kufeld was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section.
Harvey Sheff (1978-1982)
Like most of the other players on these lists, Harvey Sheff was an exceptional scorer, first starring for Hebrew Institute of Long Island (HILI) in the Jewish high school basketball league (culminating in being voted MVP of the league his senior year) before joining Yeshiva University. Sheff was a superb player for YU, averaging 17.7, 15.9, 18.6, and 21 PPG in his four seasons, respectively. He retired as the all-time leading scorer for Yeshiva, with precisely 1500 career points in either 82 or 84 games (either an 18.29 or 17.86 PPG average). Sheff’s two best scoring performances both happened when playing against Dominican College, scoring a then-career-high of 35 against them in February 1980, then topping that performance in December 1980 with 40 points.
Fun Fact: Sheff played professionally in Israel, starring for Elitzur Ramla.
Joey Eaves (1981-1983, 1984-1986)
Joey Eaves scored 1324 points in 83 games over his four-year career at Yeshiva (for an average of 15.95 PPG), finishing as the fifth-highest scorer in school history. In his first two seasons, Eaves averaged 16.9 and 16.4 PPG, and after spending a year in Israel, he came back and averaged 20.5 and 10.87 points per game. Besides being a fantastic scorer, Eaves was also an adept passer, setting the record for the highest APG (6.7, then breaking it with 7.37) and most assists in a season (149). The record for most assists in a season remained until 2020, when it was broken by Gabe Leifer’s 199. Eaves’ career-high of 38 points was scored against Pratt in February of 1985, and his career-high of 14 assists was in November of 1985 against Bard College. In his final season, Eaves sacrificed personal statistics—and the chance to become the all-time leading scorer— for the sake of the team (he helped them achieve a 14-9 record, their best in over 25 years).
Fun Fact: As a senior in high school, Eaves averaged 29 points and 12 assists.
Lior Hod (1984-1988)
The oldest of three Hod brothers to play for the Macs, Lior Hod graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Yeshiva’s history, scoring 1541 points in 90 games during his illustrious career (for an average of 17.12 PPG). In his first season for the Macs, Hod averaged 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, followed by around 15 points and 10 rebounds in his second season. In his final two seasons, Hod became the most important player for the Macs. He averaged 18.9 points, seven rebounds, and 3.9 assists on 45% shooting from beyond the arc in his third season. In his last season for YU, he averaged an astounding 19.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks a game, and was named the IAC MVP. Because of Hod’s presence, the Macs went 51-49 during his four years with the team.
Fun Fact: Hod’s three sons, Jordan, Justin, and Tyler, all played for the Macs during their tenure at YU. At one point, they were all on the court at the same time. They were the first trio of brothers to appear on the court at the same time in DIII history.
Ayal Hod (1985-1989)
The younger brother of Lior (and older brother of Asaf), Ayal Hod finished his 94-game career with the Macs as the all-time leading scorer with 1807 points (a 19.22 PPG average). Hod also grabbed the second-most rebounds in Yeshiva’s history, securing 1109 rebounds over his four seasons (for an 11.8 RPG average), and once secured 30 rebounds in a single game against Vassar College. Hod was also one of the most efficient YU players ever, consistently shooting at or above 60% from the field. Hod spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Macs (three-and-a-half of which overlapped with older brother Lior), with his stats remaining consistent every year. His finest statistical season was his final year, as Hod averaged 22.3 PPG and 13.9 RPG, along with two or more assists, steals, and blocks per game.
Fun Fact: Hod is good friends with former NBA star Allan Houston.
Yudi Teichman (1986-1989)
Yudi Teichman was a jack-of-all-trades big man that, had he played in most of the eras of Yeshiva basketball, would have been the main star of the team. In the first of his three years with Yeshiva, Teichman averaged a modest 10.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists a game. In his second year, though, Teichman’s stats took a major leap, as he put up 15 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. In his final season for Yeshiva, Teichman averaged 18 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 4 assists, and most impressively, he led all of Division III in free throw percentage, shooting 95.2% (the eighth-highest single-season number in Division III history). In his final season, Teichman was voted as a Jewish All-American honorable mention for his stellar play for YU.
Fun Fact: Teichman won two championships in high school at MTA— one in JV and one in varsity. He was named the MVP of the championship game in his junior year.
Eric Davis (1988-1991)
Despite only playing for three years at Yeshiva, Eric Davis still had two of the top PPG seasons (22.5 and 22.6) and three of the top APG seasons (6.1, 6.4, and 6.5) in Yeshiva’s history. Furthermore, Davis eclipsed the 1000-point mark with 1008 points in his 55-game career (for a career 18.33 PPG average), and the 300 assists plateau with 348 (for a career 6.33 APG average), a combination matched by only four other players in school history. In his first year for Yeshiva, Davis averaged 12 points and seven assists a game. For the next two seasons, Davis averaged around 22.5 points and more than six assists per game. In part due to fantastic play by Davis, Yeshiva compiled a 39-31 record in his three years starring on the team.
Fun Fact: Davis became the first YU player to be named to the Academic All-America team, which he achieved in his senior year.