Brian Magid, the former standout basketball player for George Washington University, has left the professional team he was playing for in Israel and returned to the United States.
"Things weren't going that well, the team was 0-5 and I wasn't enjoying it. I decided it wasn't worth it, so I came home," said Magid, who played for Haifa Hapoel for six weeks.
An accomplished outside shooting guard and a proficient free-throw shooter, Magid said the coach and general manager of the Haifa team contacted him in mid-August to ask if he was interested in playing in Israel.
"I was working at the time, but I said I probably would be interested," Magid said. "They said they'd get back to me in a couple of days, but then I didn't hear from them for three weeks. I kind of gave up on the idea and then they called me around the 6th of September and said I had to be there by the 9th or I couldn't play."
Magid said he resigned his job in the public affairs office of the Civil Aeronautics Board, giving only one day's notice, and left for Israel to play basketball at a salary of $10,000 for a seven-month season.
"It was a big rush job. I got there a week before the season started. We just started playing. It was a culture shock, to say the least. I didn't like living in Haifa. We only played one game a week, and there really wasn't a lot to do."
Magid said that although he was playing in Israel's premier professional basketball league, only three other members of the team were full-time basketball players -- two Israelis and another American, Randy Alter, a former player at West Chester (Pa.) State College. The others were either students or in the Army, and many were only 16 or 17 years old.
"I was averaging 19 points a game, but we really only had four guys who could play," Magid said.
"If you aren't winning over there, the fans really get on the Americans. They are more on the front-runners than they are over here."
As the team's losing pattern continued, Magid said, attendance fell off and the team encountered financial problems. Players were threatened with a salary cutoff if the record did not improve, he said.
After discussing the situation with management, Magid said, he decided to come back to the United States.
Magid said he has no definite plans, but is exploring the possibility of playing in the Continental Basketball Association.
As a college player, Magid finished the 1979-80 season at George Washington with a scoring average of 16 points a game. He led the nation in free-throw shooting that year. He was signed by the Indiana Pacers but was cut after training camp in 1980, and until his trip to Israel had played no organized basketball for a year.
He transferred to George Washington after two years at Maryland to get more playing time.