The Jewish story is one of searching, one of finding homes and having them taken away. Jews lived in Egypt, in the "Holy Land," in Spain, in Eastern Europe, in Western Europe, and in each, were coaxed or coerced to leave. The millennia of being driven explain, although they don't necessarily justify, the fervent possessiveness modern-day Israelis have over an area that historically has not belonged to them. Searching and outsiderness are tiring, and home seems worth dying -- and killing -- for.
Today, Northwestern announced that redshirt freshman walk-on Aaron Liberman would transfer from Northwestern. Over the course of two seasons, the 6'10 center played a total of nine minutes, making his only field goal and grabbing five rebounds.(YO, THOSE ARE SOME DOPE PER 40 MINUTES STATS.)
Aside from a brief instant where he was asked to guard an inbounds pass towards the end of overtime against Purdue, he never saw the court in a meaningful role. With the already-announced transfers of Chier Ajou and Michael Turner, the graduation of Nikola Cerina, and an incoming class which doesn't feature anybody over 6'8, Liberman stood in line to be Alex Olah's "backup." But who knows how meaningful that would've been -- in situations where Olah or Cerina were in foul trouble or hurt, Chris Collins opted to go with smaller lineups rather than insert the untested Liberman in game situations.
Most likely, the 6'10 big man was never slated to receive minutes at NU. We never saw him play enough to gauge what his basketball flaws were, but they were apparently glaring enough to prevent him from seeing the court even in situations where any amount of size would've been useful.
We are Jewish, and although Jews make up a whopping two percent of the Ameircan population, they are wildly overrepresented in certain fields -- for example, college campuses -- and wildly underrepresented in others -- for example, basketball. And of the few Jews we see playing hoops, few broadcast their beliefs the way Liberman does. Not that he ever drew attention to himself, but he did take the court in an Under Armour-produced purple yarmulke, a telltale sign of his religion.
We had a dream that Liberman would fulfill our strange fantasy of a be-yarmulke'd basketball player tearing it up, jamming on fools with his kipah flopping up and down as he sprinted back down court.
At Northwestern, this is not to be. Hopefully, Liberman finds a basketball home elsewhere: perhaps in a lower division, or at an Ivy League school. (He did point out that he was using basketball to get him into an academics-focused school en route to an MBA when he came to NU.)
Regardless, we wish Liberman the best of luck. We look forward to seeing our Big Yarmulke, our Hakeem Olajewon, being successful somewhere else.
We'll always have a few snapshots of you in a yarmulke, the fawning newspaper articles, and the high school highlight reel of a dunking Jewish superstar.
In other news, the Chris Collins transfer tracker claims another victim. One would hope this just means he's being honest with his players about their likelihood of playing, rather than something more sinister. Considering Liberman wasn't on scholarship and therefore wasn't eating up space for more talented incoming players, this seems more than likely.