Rion Brown’s basketball world tour has gone from Liberty County to Miami to Las Vegas — and soon, Israel will be added.
The former Liberty County High School and University of Miami star has signed with Israel’s Hapoel Tel Aviv, according to tweets from his agent and the Palm Beach Post.
Brown’s agent, Seth Cohen, made the announcement early Wednesday on Twitter. Matt Porter, Miami Hurricanes beat writer for the Post, also tweeted about Brown’s signing Wednesday morning.
Brown, who just played for Charlotte in the NBA’s Vegas Summer League after wrapping up his college career, joins a team that plays at the highest level of Israeli basketball. According to eurobasket.com, Hapoel Tel Aviv went 15-13 last season, good for sixth place in the 12-team division.
In a phone interview Thursday with the Courier, Brown said he expects a different atmosphere in Israel.
“Just not having family there every game, it’s a little different,” he said. “But I have a good support system, and I know everything’s going to work out.”
Cohen said that Brown received offers from Charlotte and Boston to go to their training camps, but there were no guarantees to make either roster.
Brown will begin training in Israel in the third week of August.
A news release on the team’s website, hapoeluta.com, translated through Google Translate, describes Brown as having “athletic ability and excellent penetration to the basket” while also noting his outside-shooting ability. Brown made 32 percent of his 3-point shots last season for Miami and hit 38.9 percent of his attempts in the Summer League.
A 6-foot-6 guard, Brown averaged 6.3 points and two rebounds in 14.6 minutes per Summer League contest.
Brown’s father, Tico Brown of Hinesville, played professional basketball outside the United States in the late 1980s for teams in Belgium, Switzerland and Venezuela. During his time in Belgium, he spent two weeks with the team in Israel and described Tel Aviv as “an awesome city,” citing the area’s scenery, friendly people and Christian connections.
Father and son expect Rion’s time in Israel to be a good growth experience.
“It will definitely help him grow as a ballplayer,” Tico Brown said. “I’m pretty happy about it.”
For more on this story, see Sunday’s Courier.