With Maccabi Tel Aviv season on hold NBA lottery prospect joins army, to continue service in US.
Israel’s rising basketball star Deni Avdija has joined the Israel Defense Forces to fulfill his mandatory army service to the country. The Maccabi Tel Aviv and Israel National Team forward is expected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA entry draft and is slated to be selected with one of the top five picks this coming summer.
Avdija arrived at the Tel HaShomer military base with his parents, Zufer and Sharon, as well as his agent, Matan Siman Tov, for his induction to the IDF and will complete his service in North America as an “Exceptional Athlete.”
After winning back-to-back Under-20 European Championships with the Israel National Team, many of Avdija’s teammates were drafted into the IDF, but his service was delayed due to his commitment with Maccabi Tel Aviv and playing in the Euroleague.
However with the basketball season currently on an extended hiatus due to coronavirus, Avdija enlisted.
“I am happy and proud to join the IDF just like every other citizen of my age,” said Avdija right after being drafted into Tzahal. “I will do whatever is asked of me just like I do on the basketball court.”
In 21 Israeli league games this season, the 19-year-old Avdija is averaging 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 24 assists per game in over 27 minutes of playing time, while in the Euroleague he’s averaging 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game, having featured in all 26 of the yellow-and-blue’s continental contests.
By Joshua Halickman, Jerusalem Post