Tom Maayan, a freshman point guard last season for the men’s basketball team, left Seton Hall in early April to fulfill his military duty in Israel as all Israeli citizens must do.
I wrote an article about this back in May and at that point it was unclear if Maayan would be granted furlough from the Israeli army to come back and play the 2013-14 season for the Pirates.
With Maayan gone, Seton Hall had one scholarship spot left open and it was unclear what was going to be done about it. Rumors surfaced all over Twitter that Seton Hall was in talks with the IDF to have Maayan return to the U.S. When most, including myself thought Maayan would never return, Israeli sports writer David Pick brought up the topic yet again over the summer months and said that Maayan did not have it easy when he retuned to Israel. Pick states that because Maayan missed the deadline to report to the IDF, he ended up in prison for 48 hours. It is unclear whether he missed the deadline because it was before or during the basketball season.
I had my doubts about this and as many probably thought, would not believe all the stories that Seton Hall and the IDF were close to an agreement that would have Maayan return to The Hall. While all of that was going on, Maayan was playing for Israel’s U-20 national team, leading the team in assists, ranking second in steals and shooting and scoring efficiently which came as a shock to me since I did not see much of that last season.
Israeli sports news page Walla! confirmed first that Maayan would indeed return to the U.S. Tom Maayan even confirmed it on his Facebook page earlier this week that he was returning to Seton Hall, I would not believe it until he got off a plane somewhere in the tri-state area.
Well, August 15 was the day.
Maayan arrived at JFK airport Thursday afternoon and some of his fellow teammates went to Twitter to express how happy they were to have him back for this season, hopefully a season better than last year.
The catch is that he is only back for 90 days; that is all the IDF allowed – for now. David Fuchs, Maayan’s uncle hopes the furlough can be extended until his nephew graduates.
As Jerry Carino reports in his article, David Fuchs greatly appreciates the trouble Seton Hall went through to get Maayan back in the states. Fuchs says, “They took a broken child and they gave him a chance. From now until the end of my presence on Earth, I can’t say how much I appreciate what they did.”
It seems like a happy ending for Tom right now. After reading about all the hardship he went through, I hope he stays all four years. In three months, Seton Hall fans will have to wait and see what will happen to Maayan: will he stay and continue to play at Seton Hall or is he done after the upcoming season?