New York Basketball Star Puts College Hoops on Hold for Israeli League
Brian Lissak, a standout New York City basketball star from Columbia Prep is putting his hopes of playing Division I basketball in the U.S. on hold, to play for the Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv’s juniors team in Israel.
“In terms of basketball, it’s probably not better [than prep school], but in terms of [life] experience it’s a lot better,” Lissak told the New York Post. “I’ll be learning that culture, learning a language. My first class is Hebrew.”
On a visit to Israel, Lissak worked out for Maccabi Electra through a connection his cousin had to team owner Shimon Mizrahi, according to the Post. He was offered a roster spot on an Israeli professional team but chose to play on the junior level in order to maintain his collegiate eligibility in the U.S.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Israel,” said Lissak, who scored 47 points in a playoff game for Columbia Prep during his senior season.
Lissak was not interested in playing Division III basketball in the U.S., and had yet to receive offers to play at the Division I level before making his decision to play overseas.
Joe Arbitello, the head basketball coach at Christ of King – one of New York’s top high school programs – invited Lissak to showcase his talents in front of Division I coaches.
“He’s a product of not playing in a good-enough league,” Arbitello told the Post. “He worked out with my guys and I had a few Division I coaches in the gym with me and they agreed he was pretty good.”