After a long-winded journey that saw Seton Hall sophomore point guard Tom Maayan serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, spend time in an IDF prison, and play in the FIBA u20 Championships in Estonia, a source confirmed that Maayan is expected to receive a waiver from the IDF and return to Seton Hall in the coming days. Adam Zagoria broke the news that Maayan's return is very close to being finalized.
UPDATE (8/7 10am): According to Walla!, an Israeli website, Tom Maayan has been granted a 3-month leave to return to Seton Hall to continue his academic studies and basketball related activities. Some portions of the article are unclear after using Google Translate, but it clearly indicates that Seton Hall has put forth a lot of effort into getting Maayan back. An official decision on Maayan's status will presumably be made during this 3-month span.
The back-and-forth situation between Maayan, Seton Hall, and the IDF came to the forefront immediately following the conclusion of Seton Hall’s season this spring. Facebook pictures and Geotag locations confirmed that Maayan was very much in Israel and involved in military related activities with the IDF, which confirmed the strong rumors that were circulating among Seton Hall fans.
His departure became accepted over the rest of the spring and summer months until Israeli sports writer David Pick rehashed old news last month, with a few new caveats. Pick stated that Maayan had missed the deadline to report to the IDF, which in turn landed him in an Israeli prison for 48-hours. We are unsure if this deadline came before or after the conclusion of Seton Hall’s season. Pick also added that Maayan was getting looked at by Israeli professional teams Netanya and Holon.
The rest of Pick’s claims turned out to be repackaged versions of what had been reported in America months before. Instead of the definitive tone in which Pick reported, Seton Hall was still very much in negotiations with the IDF over Maayan returning to the United States.
David Pick’s entry into the Tom Maayan whirlwind coincided with Tom’s participation in the 2013 FIBA u20 Championships hosted in Estonia. While representing Israel, Maayan averaged 10.1 ppg, 5.6 apg, and 3.1 rpg in 30.8 mpg. Maayan also went 6-for-10 from 3-point range over the 9-game tournament, which I’m sure is of interest to Seton Hall fans who doubt his shooting ability. Israel finished 15th out of 20 teams.
What this means for Seton Hall: Tom Maayan’s return fills the 13th and final scholarship on Seton Hall’s roster while also adding much needed depth at the point guard position. Without Maayan, who averaged 1.8 ppg and 3.1 apg in 21 mpg, head coach Kevin Willard would have had to rely heavily on Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs, who is still an unproven commodity. Now Maayan, who is entering his second season at Seton Hall, will be able to develop without the pressure that accompanies a freshman point guard in the Big East. His defensive prowess and pure point guard abilities add another dimension to Kevin Willard’s now full roster for the 2013-14 season.