Katash started his career as a kid at the age of 5, after his dad convince the instructor of a Basketball School for children, young Israeli player named Nir Rechalis, to add him to the lessons despite the fact that Katash was a year younger then the youngest kid in the school.
Years later Rechalis spoke about the young kid: "Even then he loved basketball very much. Since the day he was born, his dad used to ask me when he will be able to start training. He was one level above everyone, despite being the youngest; he had an amazing control over the ball even back then. It is a common say that no one is born with a ball in the hand, but in his case it is probably not true, he just had it"
Four years later, when he was 9 years old, Katash joined the junior department of Maccabi Tel Aviv and immediately assigned the Number 10 jersey - The number that years later will be identified with Katash just like 23 is with Jordan, was selected by the simple reason that Katash was born on the 10/10/74.
At the age of 17 he started to play in Maccabi Darom, a sub-team of Maccabi Tel Aviv and at the age of 18 played for Maccabi Ramat Gan, averaging 13 points and 3.8 asstists per game.
In the following season Katash moved to Hapoel Galil Elion, averaging 18.2 points and 4.4 assists, and played there until 95, when he moved to the seniors' team of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The big break
In his first season in the team Katash didn't played much and when he did it was only for a few minutes.
In 96/97 the main Point Guard of Maccabi, Guy Gudes, injured his knee in the first game of the Euroleague for that season, vs. Pau Orthez. It is ironic that a similier knee injury to the one that eventually will end his career was the cause to put Katash in the spot light of European basketball.
Gudes got out of the game and was transferred immediately to a hospital near by, and young Katash had an immediate transfer of his own ? to the first PG position. Katash ended the game with 14 points and lead Maccabi to a dramatic win over Orthez, 91:88.
For some in Maccabi there were a bit of a flashback from the last time Gudes got injured, in 1993. That time Maccabi lost the championship to Galil Elion since the players who was supposed to cover up Gudes miss, has failed to do so.
But in the following games of the season, it was clear that this time the story is different, and the slim kid has a rare quality that could not be seen in many places.
At the summer of that year Katash was part of the Israeli National team who took part of the European Championship ? Eurobasket 1997.
The Israeli NT was in the middle of generations transfer and came to the tournament with no big expectations and with an injured Doron Shefer, and finished on the regular position of the 90's NT - the 9th place.
But the path to this position was this time spectacular - Katash was unstoppable and finished as the top scorer and was elected to the all star team of the tournament.
During the same year, Katash played in the Eurostar game together with 2 other Maccabi players Nadav Henfeld and Rashard Grifith, and years later described that moment as one of the most exciting moments of his career.
In the season of 97/98 Katash was the king of Israel and together with Doron Shefer, was part of the famous KataShefer duo in his best year with Maccabi, averaging 20.5 points and 4.6 assists per game, the team failed to get higher than the 1/8 finals of the Euroleague, after loosing to Teamsystem (Skipper) Bologna 2-1 in a thrilling series, In the first game at Bologna Maccabi lost after over time when Katash scores 31 points, and in the 3rd game of the series, again in Bologna, Oded took the last shot but failed to tie the score and Maccabi lost the series.
April 1st, 1995 ? One of the spectators in the Israeli playoffs game between Hapoel Galil Elion and Hapoel Holon was the administrative manager of the New York Knicks, Mr. Ed Tapscot. Tapscot was in the middle of a vacation in the Galil area and heard that there is Basketball game near by.
At the end of the match, he addressed one of the heads of Galil Elion and asked him who is the one with the number 10 on his shirt. The reply that he got was that the guy's name was Oded Katash ? "I would love to see this kid someday with a Knicks uniform", said Tapscot.
At the time it sounded like a joke, after all it was April 1st, but at the summer of 1998 it looked like the joke is turning to be a reality, when Katash had an agreement to play with the New York Knick in the following season.
But Katash was in bad luck this time, since the "following season" never came ? the NBA was in a lockout this year, with not a single game played.
At the same time in Israel, Maccabi started the season with a roster that was supposed to bring it to the Final Four, with players like Victor Alexander, Willie Andersen, Nikola Luncar, Nadav Henfeld, Doron Shefer and Guy Gudes.
But the start of the Euroleague season came with 3 loses in a row, and it was clear that something is got to be made in order to save the Yellow club from a complete disaster.
The Yellow team contacted Katash, and Oded decided not to wait to the end of the lockout and to come back in order to save his home team - Katash came back and brought new spirit to the team, who got out of its bad situation.
At the meantime, the NBA lockout was over, Katash was called to go back to the Knicks, but decided that Maccabi needs him more.
Katash decided to proponed his NBA dream for the time and together with Pini Gershon, who replaced Yoram Harush who was the coach at the beginning of the season, took the Israeli title and the Israeli cup, and got to the playoffs of the Euroleague.
New chapter in Europe
The following season Katash wanted to check if his ways to the NBA are still open, and Maccabi decided not to wait for him anymore, and signed American Guard Ariel McDonald. Eventually Katash signed in Maccabi's European rival Panathinaikos from Greece for a 3 years contract.
After the big money spent in the previous season, Maccabi decided to sign unknown players and to have an "economic season", so unlike the previous season the 99/00 season started with no big expectations from the Israeli club.
The "inexpensive" roster included among the rest Ariel McDonald, Nate Hufmann, Dallas Comegys, Doron Sheffer, Doron Jamchi (who came for a retirement season), Derek Sharp, Gur Shelef and Pini Gershon + David Blatt as the coaches.
Quite fast it was clear that this roster was exactly what the team needed, and Maccabi made it all the way to the Final of the Euroleague; another team who made it all the way was Panathinaikos, with Katash.
For the first time Katash got to a European final, but it meant he will have to play against the team which he was so identified with all of this years.
It was well showed that Oded was in a very emotional storm, or as he said at his retirement press conference: "when I reached the final of the Euroleague against Maccabi, It was so emotional that a day before the game I didn't thought I would be able to dribble a ball".
Well, Katash succeeded to dribble, he scored 17 points and lead Panathinaikos to win the cup; one scene that every fan of Maccabi remembers is that at the end, when Maccabi had a run and could get a lead, Katash was the one to close the story with an amazing 3 pointer from a great distance and with free throws at the end. Also remembered was the Israeli TV broadcaster, screaming to the microphone after this 3 point: "Why Katash? Why it has to be you?"
At the end of the game Oded got the title on the expanse of Maccabi, and said "It Is the happiest day of my career, and also the saddest one". This was the last European game that Katash ever played, and he is only at the age of 25.
Another dramatic change
Few months later, Katash injured his knee. At first it was considerd to be a minor injury, and it was believed that he will get back in 2 or 3 months ? this belief that he will got back in 2 or 3 months was still in the air for 4 years, when even in the start of the 03/04 season there were rumors that Katash might make a comeback and will join Maccabi.
But Katash didn't came back to play anymore, and after he had an agreement with Hapoel Galil Elion to start a coaching career at the team, he decided that he must close this chapter in his life, and move on.
On June of 2004 Katash had a press conference; there he officially ended his 4 years of tries to come back to be a professional player, and started a new chapter of his life, as a coach, lets hope he'll be a great coach like he was a great player.
- Full Name: Oded David Katash
- Height: 194cm
- Position: Point Guard
- Birth date: 10.10.1974
- Teams: Maccabi Tel Aviv, Panathinaikos, Hapoel Galil Elion, Maccabi Ramat Gan.
- Highest points per game: 37, against Herzeliya
- Highest assists per game: 9, against Saratov
- Favorite Player: Jon Stockton, Michael Jordan
- Favorite European Player: Peter Naumoski
- Favorite European Team: Cibona Zagreb
- Won a Euroleague title with Panathinaikos
- Won 4 Israeli championships with Maccabi Tel Aviv
- Won 2 Israeli Cups with Maccabi Tel Aviv
- Played at the European championship of 1999 and 1997, was the top scorer of Eurobasket 97, 2nd place in steals and elected to the all-star team of that tournament
- MVP of the Israeli league for season 1997/1998
- Played the 1997 and 1999 Eurostar game
- Played 87 Euroleague games and scored a total of 1202 points
- Finished 6th in the European Championship for Cadets of 1991
- Finished 5th in the European Championship for Youth of 1992
- Finished 5th in the U21 European Championship of 1994
- Finished 9th in the U21 European Championship of 1996
- Finished 9th in the European Championship of 1997
- Finished 9th in the European Championship of 1999