11/19/13

Basketball Love or Country: Seton Hall Player Required to Fulfill Military Service In Israel


Seton Hall point guard Tom Maayan is locked in an international tug-of-war. 


He is an Israeli citizen by birth, which requires him to serve three years in the army once he turned 18. He's been seeking an athletic exemption from this duty and had to cut the 2012-13 season short in order to fulfill his duty in the Army. He reported for duty this summer and went through basic training. Maayan returned to Seton Hall this season confident that he received a waiver from Israel to pursue his basketball career and has played significant minutes this year as the backup point guard on an improved Pirates team.

Then the bottom dropped out for Maayan.
Tom Maayan/nbcsports.com
According to a New York Times article, Maayan's Uncle delivered him bad news after the Pirates win last night over Monmouth. The waver that was granted to him was only for 120 days and he was never officially allowed to leave Israel. According to the article, he has to return to Israel by January 2nd of next year.  Maayan claims he was assured by the Israel Ministry of Culture and Sports that he would be granted a waiver in order to finish his basketball career at Seton Hall. There was a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line and Maayan never received the waiver in writing. Israel wants him back to finish his military commitment.

Maayan talked about his experience in the army with us during Seton Hall's media day. "It was tough" said Maayan, "I'm happy to be back (at Seton Hall)". When I asked Maayan if he learned anything from it, he said, "I learned discipline. Getting up early", he then laughed and said, "I'll never complain about basketball practice."

by Josh Adams, Managing Editor @NCAAHoopsDigest