ROME, Ga. — Berry men's basketball alumnus Elijah Hirsh (19C) signed a two-year professional basketball deal with Israel's Elitzur Kiryat Ata, Hirsh announced on Monday.
"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."
The club competes in Liga Leumit, one of the top Israeli basketball leagues and a member of FIBA Europe.
Hirsh became the first Berry men's basketball player to earn the SAA Player of the Year award after a dominant season. The Vikings finished the year 19-7 overall and 11-3 in conference play. The season was the best in the team's NCAA Division III era by far and tied 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.
Hirsh, a senior from Woodstock, Ga., earned his second straight All-SAA first-team nod. He ranked second in the SAA with 17.5 points per game and led 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 this year puts him third in Berry's NCAA DIII era record book for points and boards in a single season. Hirsh closed the season with 11 double-doubles. Hirsh was also selected to the D3hoops.com All-Region third team and is one of just two men's basketball players from the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) to earn All-Region honors.
"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."