Guy Pnini signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday, beginning with the 2009/10 season. The 24-year-old, who has one-year remaining on his contract at Hapoel Jerusalem, wanted to join the Euroleague runner-up immediately, but the State Cup holder refused to release him to its arch-rival. Pnini does have a release clause in his contract to leave for a European club and is expected to activate it in the coming weeks. He will, however, only be playing one season of continental basketball and will return to the club at which he grew up next summer. Pnini helped Maccabi's youth team to a league and Cup double in the 2000/01 season and has since grown to become one of Israel's best players. He played five seasons for Bnei Hasharon and in his final year at the club (2005/06) averaged 12.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. In the last couple of seasons, he's continued to enhance his reputation at Hapoel Jerusalem. Pnini, who was one of the national team's stars in last summer's European Championships, helped Hapoel to two consecutive State Cups and averaged 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season for the Jerusalem squad.