Seton Hall sophomore point guard Tom Maayan is being ordered back to his home country of Israel to complete mandatory military service.
Maayan Tweeted about his departure following his final game with ECU:
unfortunately It was my last game as a pirate..Love my teamates coaches and the Shu fam! Thanks for all the love! #SHUBB#PIRATE4LIFE— Tom Maayan (@TomMaayan) December 11, 2013
It has been a roller-coaster ride for the young player.
After appearing in 33 games as a freshman for the Pirates last year, Maayan was forced to return to Israel, where he grew up, to enlist. But in August, after serving five months in Upper Galilee, he was granted a 90-day furlough to return to the program, with the hope that it would eventually be extended and he could finish his collegiate career in the United States.
According to the The New York Times' Zach Schonbrun, however, there has been a significant bump in the process:
But a winding and exhaustive ordeal was recently shaken off course again. According to an army spokesman, Maayan’s exemption was for only 120 days, and he was never officially permitted to leave Israel. The military expects him to return by Jan. 2.
Maayan, per Schonbrun's story, called it a "shock," while head coach Kevin Willard made clear his support of his guard:
Tommy has been and will always be a beloved member of the Seton Hall community. We will certainly miss him, and while we understand and respect his responsibility to serve his country, we are disappointed with the timing.
Per the story, there is a belief that the Israeli government saw Maayan's decision to attend college outside the country as an attempt to flee.
All male citizens are required a three-year stint in the military. Exceptional athletes are sometimes granted very rare—and temporary—exceptions, and it was beginning to look like that was going to be the case for Maayan, but his future with Seton Hall is now completely up in the air.
As a freshman, he averaged just 1.8 points in 21.5 minutes per game, but proved to be a valuable distributor and defender, compiling 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals.
He was well on way to repeating that as a sophomore, putting up 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per contest in Seton Hall's first first four games.
The Pirates have more depth at the position this year with the additions of transfer Sterling Gibbs and freshman Jaren Sina, but it's still unfortunate we won't get to see Maayan—at least for now—continue to grow as a player.