Venice native Noah Gottlieb’s talent for the game of basketball has taken him not only to the collegiate level but to an international stage.
When he puts on his basketball jersey this summer, Gottlieb will be representing far more than the school he normally plays for, Santa Monica College (SMC), he will be playing for his country.
Gottlieb, a Venice High School graduate who recently turned 19, has been selected to play for Team USA at the 12th European Maccabi Games in Rome this summer.
The European Maccabi Games, which are scheduled from July 4th to 12th, pit top Jewish athletes from countries throughout Europe and other parts of the world against each other in various sports including, basketball, track and field, tennis and volleyball.
After having recently completed his freshman basketball season at SMC, Gottlieb said it was a true honor to learn that he was chosen to play for the American team at the European Maccabi Games.
“It feels really special,” Gottlieb said. “First and foremost, I feel really honored knowing I’m going to be a part of this.”
The six-foot-two SMC point guard said he was recommended to compete on Team USA by Howard Fisher, men’s basketball coach at the College of the Canyons, which plays against SMC in the Western State Conference.
Gottlieb noted that he was pleased at how his freshman season with the SMC Corsairs went. He started every game for the Corsairs and was named to the first team all Western State Conference this season, averaging 19 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.
Gottlieb joined the Corsair program after finishing a successful senior season at Venice High, which was highlighted by his more-than-40-point performance against the then Western League and Los Angeles City Section champion Westchester High School Comets.
While Gottlieb played for the Venice High Gondoliers in his junior and senior years, he attended Santa Monica High School and wore a Viking uniform his first two seasons.
Having played his favorite sport since the age of six, Gottlieb is seeing firsthand that his dedication to the game has taken him to the college level and beyond.
“The hard work is paying off,” he said.
When he takes his trip to the Maccabi Games in July, Gottlieb expects to experience a “pure adrenaline rush,” as it will be both his first visit to Europe and his first time playing against international competition.
“I’m looking forward to competing in that kind of atmosphere,” he said. “The intensity level will be raised to a level I’ve never seen before.”
Acknowledging that he’ll face competition superior to what he sees at SMC, Gottlieb said he is ready for the test.
He has prepared for the challenge by cross-training, playing pickup basketball games each week over the last couple months and trying to get in the best shape he can.
In addition to the physical preparation, Gottlieb says he must also raise $5,000 to help him cover the cost of his trip to Rome.
He will take part in a free-throw shootout to raise money at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 2nd, at the SMC gymnasium.
As Gottlieb heads off to Europe, his goal above all will be to enjoy the opportunity of being a member of Team USA.
“I just want to have a great time and take in every moment,” he said.