University of Hawaii freshman Orel Lev enrolled with the hopes of playing for the Warriors basketball team. Lev practiced with the squad through the end of the 2011-2012 season, but that will be the extent of his UH career. At least for the next three years.
Lev, a native of Israel, was called back to serve his mandatory service in the Israeli military. While delays are granted on occasion, Lev's petition was denied.
Both parties have handled this situation professionally.
"While we are disappointed that Orel won't be able to suit up for us the next three years, we completely respect the military commitment he must fulfill. There is no greater sacrifice than serving your country," said Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold in a press release.
"I'm sorry that I can't come back to Hawaii. The army did not release me even though we tried to get an exemption. The army is very strict and I am not allowed to leave the country for the next three years. I had a great time in Hawaii and I wish I could come back to play for a great coach and great teammates. Thank you for the wonderful experience and mahalo to everyone," Lev said in the same school release.
The redshirt freshman will serve the next three years in Israel and will be considered an open recruit for 2015, after the conclusion of his mandatory duty.
Lev, however, may never play in the NCAA. The 6'4" guard currently plays for Israel's national team and will be allowed to play for other Israeli teams during his military tenure.
Playing for teams in Israel could keep Lev from coming back to the states.
Lev has already played for Maccabi Tel Aviv's U-18 team and I'm sure the professional Maccabi would love to bring Lev into the Euro League.
Maccabi Tel Aviv went 23-2 last season and won the Premier League championship. They are currently ranked seventh in the Euro League rankings.
There are six Israeli teams, including Tel Aviv, ranked in the top 100 of the Euro League.
Regardless of where Lev ends up, his commitment to the Israeli military is admirable. He is the type of role model that prep athletes should emulate in the college ranks.
Best of luck to the Warriors. And Lev, stay safe. You are a true Warrior.
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