Goodman signs with pro team in Israel

Special to The Sun

Tamir Goodman, the local basketball phenom once dubbed the "Jewish Jordan" for his flamboyant play at Talmudical Academy, a small Pikesville school for Orthodox Jews, has signed a three-year deal to play for Israel's top professional team.

Goodman, a 6-foot-3 guard who left Towson University's basketball team following an alleged locker room incident with coach Michael Hunt in December, will play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Baltimore Jewish Times first reported."This is what I've been pointing to, ultimately, my entire life," said Goodman, 20. "I've always wanted to play professional basketball in Israel. Ultimately, God has taken me to the right place."

Goodman declined to discuss financial terms of the deal, other than to say he's "extremely happy" with it. He will be playing in the country where his mother, Chava, grew up, and the city where his grandmother resides.

Maccabi Tel Aviv competes in three leagues: the Israel League, the Euro League and the Adriatic League. The team has been dominant in its home country, winning 42 of the 48 Israeli titles, and two years ago won the 24-team Euro League, considered far more challenging.

Last season, the team featured several Americans, including former Philadelphia 76ers guard Anthony Parker and Continental Basketball Association alums Arriel McDonald and Nate Huffman. It is coached by Boston native and former Princeton player David Blatt.

Goodman made national news three years ago when he was recruited to play at the University of Maryland. Following a rift with the Terrapins' coaching staff, however, he decided, instead, to attend Towson, where last season as a sophomore he appeared in seven games for the Tigers, averaging 1.9 points in limited play.

He left the team after a post-game incident involving Hunt Dec. 8, in which Goodman claimed the coach was verbally abusive and kicked a chair that hit him in the shin. He completed the school year under scholarship.

"Everything that happens is for a reason," Goodman said. "Sometimes, people look at the incident that happened at Towson as a negative experience. But for me, I look at it as a blessing because God has taken me to where he wants me to be."

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