Northwestern basketball has added a walk-on in the form of 6-foot-10 forward/center Aaron Liberman, making me arguably more excited than I've ever been for any post ever.
You see, we Jews have a problem. We love basketball, but ever since the 1940's ended and Dolph Schayes could no longer dominate, we haven't really been great at the sport on the highest levels. Sure, there's half of Jordan Farmar, all of Omri Casspi, and according to him, Amare Stoudemire, but it's not enough. This creates a firestorm whenever there's a halfway decent Jewish baller: the 90's saw unbelievable hype around a random high schooler from Maryland, Tamir Goodman, "The Jewish Jordan", who ended up playing briefly at Towson since no other school would accommodate his desire not to play on Friday nights or Saturdays before moving to Israel.
Well, not only is Liberman Jewish and good at basketball, he's, like very Jewish. Way more Jewish than me, in fact. Liberman starred for Valley Torah High School, leading the team to the CIF Southern Section title - the first Jewish team ever to do so - played for the United States at the 2012 Maccabi Pan American games, and took a year studying abroad and practicing in Israel after high school. Let's hit some quotes:
"Shalosh means three in Hebrew, and we've had three goals this year," Liberman said. "Win league, win CIF, and win the [Yeshiva University] tournament that we're going to in a few weeks.
"I'm using basketball to get into an academic school instead of a basketball-focused school," said Liberman, who hopes to major in economics or political science, earn an MBA and join his father's broadcasting business, Liberman Broadcasting Inc .
Wait, Northwestern is an academic school and not a basketball-focused one?
From fellow Member of the Tribe Teddy Greenstein's twitter:
Here he is dunking and dominating in a yarmulke, which sorta flaps around on his head while he's playing:
Suffice it to say, I am excited about the Liberman era. Despite all this, Liberman didn't get a scholarship offer anywhere as far as I can tell, but he is a preferred walk-on. Somewhere along the line, Northwestern went from starting Reggie Hearn at power forward to having six guys 6-foot-8 or taller on the roster for the upcoming year, so that's exciting. He might earn some tick: he did nearly average a triple-double with 17.4 points, 12.3 boards, and 8.7 blocks per game, but then again, I'd bet a lot of that was against less-than-great competition.
Here's hoping Liberman can bring Northwestern to the promised land - you know, the NCAA Tournament - after all these damn years of wandering in the desert. Although I hope they don't schedule our second-round game on Saturday.