by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
Usually when a basketball player’s career ends, it’s because something tragic happened. For Seton Hall’s Tom Maayan, not so much.
The sophomore guard and Israeli native played his last game for the Pirates last night—a 71-55 thrashing of NJIT—because he is redeploying to Israel to rejoin the Israeli Defense Forces.
Maayan did army training over the summer and received a waiver to put off his mandatory three years of service until after the season. However, Maayan learned last month that he would only be allowed to stay in America for 120 days before he’d be ordered to report back to Israel. He needs to return to the country to continue training by January 2.
“It was definitely a shock,” Seton Hall teammate Sterling Gibbs said. “A little bit into the season, we kind of figured — but we weren’t sure — that this may be his last year. But we weren’t sure. I’m happy for him because he’s going back to his country, he’s going to see his family and he’s going to live his normal life now.”
“I think the yo-yoing was tough for everybody,” [Pirates coach Kevin] Willard said after in the hallway of the Prudential Center. “It was tough for him — those are his teammates, his family. His extended family. Leaving them wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy last time and it wasn’t easy this time, either. But it is what it is.”
Maayan ends his career averaging 1.9 points, 3.0 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 43 career games for the Pirates.