An Israeli playing basketball at Seton Hall University was ordered to return home to serve in the army.
The Israel Defense Forces told Tom Maayan, a sophomore guard at the New Jersey college, to return by Jan. 2 to be drafted.
Maayan had spent several months over the summer in basic training with the Israeli army but received a 120-day exemption to start the season at Seton Hall. He reportedly had expected another after lobbying for the exemption granted to exceptional athletes.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the Pirates’ game on Tuesday against the New Jersey Institute of Technology was Maayan’s last with the team. He is set to finish his final exams this week before returning to Israel, according to The Star-Ledger.
Maayan did not speak after the game but sent out a tweet that read, “unfortunately It was my last game as a pirate.Love my teamates coaches and the Shu fam! Thanks for all the love! #SHUBB#PIRATE4LIFE”
Maayan, his family and the university all reportedly lobbied the IDF to allow him to finish his college career at Seton Hall before re-enlisting. He will serve out his full three-year commitment to the military.
“Tommy has been and will always be a beloved member of the Seton Hall community,” Willard told The New York Times last month. “We will certainly miss him, and while we understand and respect his responsibility to serve his country, we are disappointed with the timing.”
Maayan would still have eligibility to play college basketball, but it is unclear if h’s scholarship at Seton Hall would be available after completing his army service.
Playing 20 minutes a game over his season-plus at Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic university, he averaged nearly 2 points and 3 assists.JTA
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