Six years ago, two weeks only after he packed the backed for a trip to Galil and left home for the first time in his life Lior called his older brother and asked him to come back. Galil was far away from home, mother surley looked far away. Few hours later all hs stuff was loaded to the trunk going Back to the Eliyahu's house. Six years later, the boy that wasn't sure if he can play with Galil Elion and didn't believe he will get any playing time in Maccabi Tel Aviv is moving to Spain for a four-year contract in the best and richest league in Europe. And mother? At least for the start she will join him.
"It is true that I got an offer [from TAU] long ago, but I haven't decided whether to accept it till the last moment. It was hard for me to make a decision. One of the players who went to play in Europe told me that the longer I wait the harder it will get. So many advantages and disadvantages, that you simply have to say "yes" or "no". About a month ago I brought the contract back home. The whole family was sitting in the living room and they asked "signing or not?"
People from the outside can't understand the relationships inside my family. My mother cried when I left home for Galil, even if we'll be 40-50 she'll always surround us with care. I can't imagine right now what's going to happen when I move to Vitoria. Meanwhile I asked my family to come with me, they will take shifts. One period with my mother, other with my father, maybe both. Brothers, friends. It is not fun to come to an empty house, especially for me."
Besides the family issue, saying goodbye for Maccabi for Lior wasn't easy either. "I had good days with Maccabi and it is not easy to walk away from a place you love. That is why it was very important for me to win the Israeli league championship"
Folks said Lior lacks of defence skills, perimeter shooting, aggressiveness, rebounding. But in the end the player finished with 14 points and 6.6 rebounds. Lior responded to the comments about the lack of defence:
"People are always looking for the bad things. I can finish the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds and still they will say "did you see how he didn't defend against at the last attack?"
Next season Lior is going to play with one of the toughest coaches in Europe, if not the toughest of them all, coach Ivanovic.
"I've never worked with him, we'll see.. it is said he's a good man, and a coach under whom the players work very hard. They (TAU) know what to expect from me. I am who I am. I know Ivanovic is a very defensive minded and I also know that there are several things I'll have to improve. Humans have a survival mechanism. Maybe as a part of it I'll have to lift up the defensive issue."
When asked about his playing time he answered:
"I know that the lack of playing time will be hard, but TAU has 2 games a week, and those are not the games that we have in the Israeli league. Spanish league is much like NBA for me. I can't believe that anyone can play 30 minutes per game twice a week, in short time such player would get wasted. They are not building a team with 12-13 players there will be only 10 and I think there would be a balance in distribution. On the other hand in 4 and 5 positions we have only four players Teletovic and I will play at 4"
Eliyahu also discovered that he was very close to the NBA :
"Two NBA teams wanted to sign me and there were some talks, they wanted me for now with a contract and a place in the roster, but Huston didn't agree to let me go."