Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins at sundown Saturday. But there's already cause for celebration among Jewish basketball fans thanks to Aaron Liberman, a freshman walk-on at Northwestern who also happens to be an Orthodox Jew. He hasn't yet appeared in a game this season because of a nasty case of shin splints, but he's easy to spot on the bench: He's the one wearing a yarmulke.
When Liberman is eventually given medical clearance to make his Northwestern debut, which he expects will be "pretty soon," he plans to wear his yarmulke on the court. (Northwestern is making two versions for him -- purple and white for home games, and purple and black for the road.) That will make him only the second yarmulke-clad player in Division I basketball history. The first such player was Tamir Goodman, the much-hyped "Jewish Jordan," who played for Towson in 2000 and 2001. But disagreements with a new coach derailed Goodman's college basketball career early in his sophomore year, leaving Division I hard courts yarmulke-free until Liberman's arrival this season.