2004 Division II Player of the Year was among UMass Lowell’s greatest ever

UML River Hawks

Elad Inbar to be inducted into Athletics Hall of Fame.

LOWELL (Apr. 28, 2010) – Elad Inbar, the former NCAA Division II Player of the Year who starred with the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team from 2000-04, will be inducted into the UMass Lowell Athletic Hall of Fame Tuesday, May 11, at the 2010 Excellence Awards Night at the Costello Athletic Center.

Inbar becomes the 37th men’s basketball player – first since the 2004 induction of the 1987-88 team and first individual since Steve Lane in 1998 – to be inducted into UMass Lowell’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He will fly in from Tel Aviv next weekend to receive the honor.

“I am really happy to be receiving this honor and to be considered as Hall of Fame material,” said Inbar, a native of Kiryat Haim, Israel. “I really appreciate how my past
success with the team is honored by the school. I was very lucky to be able to play for a great team, a great coaching staff, great teammates and a great school.

“I will be a River Hawk forever,” he added.

Inbar’s cache of honors seemingly included everything short of an NCAA Championship. On Mar. 26, 2004, he was named the Division II Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the highest honor bestowed upon a Division II player.

Inbar led the River Hawks to a 100-27 record, the winningest four-year period in the program’s history, which saw them win two Northeast-10 regular season and tournament championships in 2003 and 2004. Additionally, UMass Lowell went to four NCAA Tournaments and captured the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Northeast Region titles and bids to the Elite Eight.

Despite early exits from the Elite Eight, Inbar was at his best in both games, scoring 27 points in a 72-62 loss to Bowie State in 2003 and 29 points in an 89-82 loss to Humboldt State in 2004.

It was against Humboldt State that Inbar became UMass Lowell’s all-time leading scorer with 2,099 points, surpassing John Paganetti (1980-84), who compiled 2,091.

“Elad had a basketball IQ that was off the charts,” said former UMass Lowell head coach Ken Barer. “He was always thinking a play or two ahead of everyone else. He had an uncanny way of making difficult shots look easy and was the consummate team player.”

Thriving in the Clutch

Inbar’s clutch play in the biggest of games was never more evident than in the semifinal and final of the 2004 NCAA Northeast Region Championship. In the semifinal win against Southern New Hampshire, he scored 25 points – including an NBA-range 3-point shot with 11 seconds left to force overtime – as the River Hawks prevailed 67-61.

In the regional final, he came up with a key steal and converted a baseline jumper with 4.2 seconds in a 63-62 win over Bryant University, securing UMass Lowell’s second straight appearance in the Elite Eight.

“Some of the greatest moments I have had as a coach were not only watching this young man make some of the most clutch plays this school has ever seen, but simply watching him prove on a daily basis that fundamental is truly spectacular,” Barer noted.

Rob Bradford’s game summary in the Mar. 17 edition of The Sun captured Inbar’s brilliance:

“With the Bulldogs possessing a one-point lead and the ball as the clock melted down under a minute, Inbar decided it was time to shine. As the shot clock went down to just five seconds, the UML forward stripped Bryant’s top scorer, Romauld Augustin (16 points), while simultaneously sending the ball off the Bulldog star’s knee and, subsequently, out of bounds.

“The play allowed for what has become the River Hawks’ natural progression in their three NCAA Tournament games thus far: Inbar game-winning shot, UMass Lowell win.”

It Wasn’t All Basketball

Inbar was a two-time All-American and three-time NE-10 First Team all-star, including the NE-10 Player of the Year as a senior. He left his name in many places in the UMass Lowell record book and continues to rank tops among career leaders in points, games played (127, shared with teammate/compatriot Uri Grunwald), and free throws made (455).

As talented a player as Inbar was, he was an equally gifted student, maintaining a 3.377 grade point average as a finance major. He was a two-time member of the Verizon District I All-Academic Team, earning first team honors as a senior.

“It is impossible to describe Elad Inbar’s impact on the University in a single sentence,” said Dana Skinner, Director of Athletics. “Elad was one of the most accomplished students and decorated athletes ever at UMass Lowell.

“He received the Athletic Scholarship Award for achieving the highest four-year grade point average in his senior class; led his team to the best four-year record in school history; and was selected as the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year in 2004. It’s hard to imagine anyone having a broader impact,” Skinner added.

During his senior year, Inbar earned his share of attention from professional scouts and earned an individual tryout with the New Jersey Nets. He was also selected 39th in the 2004 USBL Draft by the Westchester Wildfire.

Following graduation, Inbar spent the 2004-05 season playing professionally for B.C. Haifa of Israel’s first division and moved on to A.C. Ramat Harashon, also a first division club, for the 2005-06 season.

Inbar is currently a foreign exchange trader for Bank Leumi and currently plays semiprofessionally for Hapoel Ussishkin Tel Aviv Basketball Club of Israel’s third division.

He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.