Maccabi Tel Aviv snatches Eliyahu; Drucker takes Panionios job
Eliyahu could be joined Halperin who may remain with the club this year before pursuing his NBA dream.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
Less than 48 hours after he became the second Israeli player ever selected in the NBA Draft, Lior Eliyahu finalized his plans for next season by agreeing to terms with perennial BSL champion Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Maccabi announced on Friday afternoon that the 20-year-old forward would wear yellow and blue next year, but did not release contract details.
Eliyahu was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 44th selection of Wednesday's NBA Draft and then promptly traded to the Houston Rockets. However, Houston sees Eliyahu as a prospect for the future and had no intention of bringing the player, who still has three months of IDF service remaining, to its camp this fall.
Eliyahu could be joined by another fresh NBA draftee this season at Maccabi. Yotam Halperin, who was taken nine spots after Eliyahu by the Seattle SuperSonics, has one year remaining on his contract with Maccabi and may remain with the club this year before pursuing his NBA dream.
Maccabi's search for a coach to take over for Pini Gershon suffered a blow on Friday when Sharon Drucker agreed to terms in Greece with Panionios Athens.
Drucker, who was seen as one of the top Israeli candidates for the position along with national team coach Tzvika Sherf, decided not to wait for Maccabi.
Because Maccabi waited for the end of the Italian League playoffs to speak to its top choice, David Blatt, it was then left out in the cold when Blatt told team officials that he would honor his deal at Benetton Treviso.
Maccabi is also believed to be looking into foreign coaches, but all of the top Europeans have clubs for next season.
Drucker, 39, built his name in Europe when he guided Hapoel Jerusalem to the ULEB Cup title three years ago. After a two-year stint in Jerusalem, he went abroad for the first time last year to try his luck with Russian side Ural Great, where he also proved himself by winning the FIBA Challenge Cup crown.
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