ORONO, Maine — Noam Laish, a point guard who missed his entire freshman year on the University of Maine men’s basketball team due to hip surgery, has left the school to return to his native Israel.
“He is going to play professionally,” said Maine men’s basketball coach Ted Woodward. “When you recruit overseas, that’s always a possibility.”
The 6-foot-1 Laish averaged 11.6 points and 2.5 rebounds for Israel in the 2010 Under-20 European Championships. He averaged 3.1 three-pointers per game, second best in the tourney, and his three-point shooting percentage of 47.2 percent was fourth best.
Woodward said his team still should be good at the guard spot although, in addition to Laish, valuable four-year guards Andrew Rogers and Gerald McLemore have graduated.
“We brought in a lot of perimeter players,” said Woodward. “And we have other guys who are versatile.”
He said sophomores Justin Edwards and Xavier Pollard and incoming freshman Shaun Lawton will see point-guard service.
“Justin has been working hard on his ball-handling,” said Woodward.
Edwards was more of a shooting guard last season.
Woodward said Laish was a scholarship player and the coach will bring in another player only if he finds a good one who can help the team out immediately.
“There’s no sense of urgency,” said Woodward.