March 23, 2000
BERKELEY - Sophomore center Shahar Gordon, who has to report for service with the Israeli military April 2, will play his final game for Cal Friday against Wake Forest before flying home to Tel Aviv.
As an Israeli citizen, Gordon must serve a three-year commitment with the Israeli military. He has already received two one-year exemptions, which have allowed him to play the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons at Cal. After Friday's NIT quarterfinal game, Gordon will travel to New York before taking a plane to Israel.
An honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic selection this season, Gordon has made arrangements with his professors to complete his spring academic requirements while overseas.
"We knew this was a possibility when Shahar enrolled at Cal," head coach Ben Braun said in January when Gordon was notified of his report date. "We hoped he could extend his stay, but understand that he needs to return home. Shahar knows that we would welcome him back, and we're sure he'll make the best decision."
In 1999-2000, Gordon has appeared in 25 games, averaging 1.9 ppg and 1.2 rpg. In Tuesday's second round victory over Georgetown, he contributed five points and five rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.
"He played very inspired, and he played very well against Georgetown," Braun said. "He played hard and really gave us some solid minutes."
Cal, the defending NIT champion, faces Wake Forest Friday at 4:30 p.m. PT at the Greensboro Coliseum. The winner of that game advances to play the North Carolina State-Mississippi winner in the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden in New York next Tuesday.