A recent Berry College graduate took a step at continuing his love of basketball at the next level this week.
Berry men’s basketball alumnus Elijah Hirsh signed a two-year deal with Israel’s Elitzur Kiryat Ata organization on Monday, according to the former Viking forward.
The club competes in Liga Leumit, one of the top Israeli basketball leagues and a member of FIBA Europe.
“It means a lot playing professional basketball and it has always been a dream of mine,” Hirsh said. “I can’t express how fortunate I am to be able to make a living playing this game. I’m excited to get started and keep improving every day.”
Hirsh became the first Berry men’s basketball player to be named Southern Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Player of the Year after a dominant senior season.
The Vikings finished 19-7 overall and 11-3 in conference play to make the 2018-2019 season the best in the team’s NCAA Division III era by far and tie the program’s best record since the 2008-09 season. Berry’s 11 wins in conference play nearly doubled the previous season-high of six set during the 2016-17 season.
“The coaches at Berry have had a huge impact on my game but more importantly in the development of my character,” Hirsh said. “They challenged me to get better every single day, seize the moment and enjoy the journey. I can honestly say I would not be in the position I am without their guidance on the court, in the film room and throughout life.”
Hirsh, from Woodstock, earned his second straight All-SAA first-team nod last season and ranked second in the SAA with 17.5 points per game while leading the league with 9.2 rebounds per contest.
He was also second in the SAA with 49 blocks on the year. His 455 points and 240 rebounds placed him third in Berry’s NCAA D-III era record book for points and boards in a single season.
Hirsh closed the season with 11 double-doubles and was also selected to the D3hoops.com All-Region third team to make him one of just two SAA men’s basketball players to earn All-Region honors.