Yeshiva University men’s basketball star Ryan Turell is looking to be the first Orthodox Jewish player in the NBA. The Division III guard is entering in the 2022 NBA Draft and forgoing his last year of college eligibility.
“Being the first Orthodox Jew in the NBA would mean the world to me, and a dream come true, God willing. But, just as importantly, it would mean the world to others that never saw this as a possibility.”
Turell is confident in his future, saying, “My full intention is to play professional basketball next year.”
Turell has stats to back him up as the leading scorer in men’s college basketball through all divisions. He averages 27.1 points per game, shoots 47% from the 3-point line, and, according to Synergy Sports Technology, he is the third most efficient shooter in all college basketball.
He also helped lead his team to the 50 straight wins from 2019 to December 2021 and won the Skyline Conference championship.
“I know NBA teams came to see me,” the 6-foot-7 guard said. “My coach would tell me after each game, especially toward the end of the season. Quite a few NBA teams came to watch.”
He is not projected to be selected in the draft, but that is not stopping Turell.
“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,” he said.
Many Orthodox Jews do not work or travel on Sabbath (Shabbat), which add a struggle to being in the NBA. Shabbat is from Friday evening to Saturday evening, but Turell informed ESPN he does plan on playing on Shabbat and will walk to the gym.