Hawaii basketball’s first departure of the offseason was one of the rare after-season, mid-semester variety.
In the days after UH returned from its season-ending loss to UC Irvine in the Big West tournament, center Ido Flaisher made a sudden departure back to his homeland of Israel to begin a three-year term in the Israeli army.
Here’s a free link to the story that ran in today’s print edition.
Israel has mandatory military service once its citizens reach age 18. There are few Israelis in the NCAA for that reason; Flaisher was granted an exemption, or at least a temporary deferment, when he came out for college ball here, with the understanding that the military would be waiting for him when his UH days were done.
Flaisher, after struggling mightily his sophomore season, apparently decided to get his conscription over with instead of putting it off any longer. If you’ll recall, the last Israeli to join UH, Orel Lev, similarly cut short his UH career (really, before it ever got started) to undergo his military obligation.
Now, was Flaisher’s departure surprising? The timing, maybe, but not the end result. It’s no secret Ido had a rough go of it in his second season, after showing glimpses of potential as a freshman. This preseason, when he came in conditioned and seemingly motivated, there was media chatter that he could get his first double-double at some point.
Well, that obviously didn’t happen. His confidence wavered as his minutes dropped and the writing was on the wall with the arrival of Mate Colina, plus the other two incoming bigs Owen Hulland and Dawson Carper.
It remains to be seen how this might affect the team’s APR. Players typically need to complete semesters to get the points towards good grades and retention. UH will likely ask the NCAA for a waiver to get one or both of those points back because of the compulsory military service aspect of his departure.
Flaisher was always friendly to everyone, even when things weren’t going well. From a character standpoint, I don’t think you’d ever find an unkind word about him. Best of luck to Ido during his military service. Stay safe big fella.
UH open scholarship count: 2.