Rainbow Warriors lose Lev to military obligation

HONOLULU — University of Hawai’i men’s basketball head coach Gib Arnold announced that freshman guard Orel Lev will not return to the team this fall due to a three-year military obligation in his native Israel.

Lev signed with UH during the earlier period last fall and joined the team this January, serving as a member of the scout team. The 6-4 guard was set to see game action as a freshman in 2012-13.

“While we are disappointed that Orel won’t be able suit up for us the next three years, we completely respect the military commitment he must fulfill,” Arnold said. “There is no greater sacrifice than serving your country.”

“I’m sorry that I can’t come back to Hawai’i,” Lev said. “The army did not release me even though we tried to get an exemption. The army is very strict and I’m not allowed to leave the country for the next three years. I had a great time in Hawai’i, and I wish I could come back to play for a great coach and great teammates. Thank you for the wonderful experience and mahalo to everyone.”

Lev could return to Hawai’i as early as 2015, though he will be an open recruit.

The native of Tel Aviv is regarded as one the best young athletes in Israel and is part of the junior national team. He averaged 25 points per game and 5 assists per game for Ironi Tet High School and captained the Under-18 National Team during the 2011 U18 Men’s European Championships. He also earned experience with Maccabi Tel Aviv’s U-18 amateur squad.

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