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December 5, 2012 8:37 pm

The Yarmulke Returns to NCAA Division I

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Aaron Liberman on the court.

No yarmulke has been seen in top-tier college hoops since Tamir Goodman broke the “suede ceiling” back in 2000-2001. The “Jewish Jordan” of Towson State was the first to wear a kipah in NCAA Division I.

But now Northwestern’s Aaron Liberman is sporting a lid in team colors atop his 6-foot-10 frame. Coming out of L.A.’s Valley Torah High School, Liberman was fifth-ranked nationally last year for blocked shots.

So far, some gimpy shin-splints have kept Liberman on the bench. But team physicians say he should be ready for action soon. And when he is, he will surpass even Tamir in Jewish religious ware, for Aaron wears his tzitzits (fringes) under his uniform when he plays.

According to Paul Lukas at, the only league in which yarmulkes are regularly seen is in Division III, where Yeshivah University’s players, and coaches, routinely cover their heads. But, Liberman told Lukas, “everyone’s cool with it. They just see me as one of the guys.”

Liberman’s on-court lid will be the team’s blue-and-white for home games and black-and-white on the road. He was reluctant – despite his big-league stature – to speculate about a post-college career on the court, insisting that he also “needed to stay focused on his studies.”

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