Former University of Virginia sensation Sylven Landesberg has signed a three-year contract with Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The Brooklyn-born 22-year-old gained Israeli citizenship through his father, who is Jewish. Last year, Landesberg played for the Israeli team in the Israeli All-Stars vs. Foreign All-Stars game and scored 21 points. Rumors spread throughout the media that he would try to make an NBA Summer League team, but it now appears Landesberg is staying in Israel.
“Hopefully, I’ll make it to the NBA,” he had told AP, “but I will definitely never forget my time in Israel, no matter where I go. It is a huge part of my growing up.”
After an exceptional first year at the University of Virginia, Landesberg was given the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Freshman of the Year Award. He followed that by averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game in 32 minutes per game in his sophomore year.
Landesberg unexpectedly left college after his sophomore year, saying that he wished to play basketball professionally. After a brief stint with the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Summer League, he inked a two-year deal with Maccabi Haifa.
In Landesberg’s first year in Haifa, he got to play a historic exhibition game against the New Jersey Nets, which attracted a lot of media attention in Israel. The Haifa team struggled during the season, however, firing a record two head coaches while finishing in 9th place.
The future was supposed to be bright the following season, as Haifa signed former NBA players Sean Williams and Qyntel Woods. Unfortunately for the Green-and-White, they fired yet another head coach during the season and finished in last place with a 5-19 record. Maccabi Haifa is expected to improve its lot with former 76er’s general manager Brad Greenberg, who is the team’s new head coach.
It has been a busy summer for the Yellow-and-Blue, as they have also signed point guard Ricky Hickman (Benetton TV) and center Giorgi Shermandini (Bennet Cantu).
Eurobasket’s Dubi Pick said, “Maccabi is looking at adding Nik Caner-Medley to replace former sharpshooter David Blu. I expect Landesberg to come off the bench and play the 2 or 3 spot.”
With all the drama surrounding Yogev Ohayon, Landesberg’s signing comes at a perfect time to cheer up disgruntled Yellow-and-Blue fans.