Tom Maayan was told on Monday, following Seton Hall’s 82-66 win over Monmouth, that his sophomore season with the Pirates may have ended.
According to a report from Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times, Maayan may have to leave the basketball program and return to Israel by Jan. 2 to fulfill his military obligation. Maayan’s uncle David Fuchs flew to the United States to inform his nephew of the news he had received. For Maayan, this isn’t the first time he was torn between his country and schools.
Maayan left in March, following the end of Seton Hall’s season in the Big East tournament. In mid-August, Maayan had returned to Seton Hall, after the Israeli Defense Forces granted him a 90-day furlough. Fuchs and former Seton Hall director of basketball operations Stephen Sauers had attempted to get Maayan an exemption from his three-year military commitment.
Maayan was selected to play for Israel’s under-20 national team competing in the European championships in Estonia in July. He earned notice from Arik Shivek, the coach of the Israeli national basketball team, while averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 assists for Israel, which finished 15th.
The performance also seemingly helped Maayan earn an elite athlete exemption by the army, in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and Sport, which grants only 12 athletes (in any sport) across three age groups a temporary stay of service. According to Maayan and Fuchs, they received assurances from officials in the Sports Administration that Maayan could return to Seton Hall and finish the year.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t have the permission,” Maayan said.
The NYT reported that Fuch’s believes this is the result of a misunderstanding. This latest struggle between Maayan and the Israel Defense Forces could put an end to his collegiate career.
The 6-foot-2 point guard was averaging 1.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in more than 17 minutes of action a night.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.