Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jeremy Tyler to go pro

Jeremy Tyler has decided to skip his final year of eligibility and head to the professional level.

Pretty standard post, right?

It is, until you consider that Tyler is a 17 year old finishing up his junior year in high school.

Tyler, a 6'11" center from San Diego High School currently committed to Louisville, will be leaving school to play pro ball in Europe for two seasons before he is eligible for the draft. According to the article, Tyler looks like he is headed for Spain, but he has yet to sign anything.

Maybe the decision by Brandon Jennings to skip college for Europe will have a bigger effect than first thought.

A quote from Tyler to the New York Times:

Nowadays, people look to college for more off-the-court stuff versus being in the gym and getting better. If you're really focused on getting better, you go play pro somewhere. Pro guys will get you way better than playing against college guys.
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this decision. I've never been a fan of the one-and-done rule, simply because it is strictly in place to benefit the NCAA and the NBA.

But leaving high school early to go pro?

There is no question that Tyler is good (he is #9 in Rivals top 150 for 2010), with a chance to be great. One scout told Dan Wetzel that Tyler could play in the NBA right now, and many people have him projected as the #1 pick in the class of 2011. But sending a kid - and a 17 year old junior is very much a kid - to another country to play professional basketball against grown men is going to be quite trying.

Just ask Brandon Jennings, who averaged just 5.8 ppg and 2.3 apg in Italian League games and 7.6 ppg and 1.2 apg in 16 Euroleague games.

But this decision is different for Tyler, mainly due to his size. Playing at the high school level, Tyler may face five guys all season with his size, and maybe one with his combination of size and ability.

Explain to me how a center with NBA aspirations is going to get better going up against 6'4" and 6'5" kids triple-teaming and hacking the hell out of him.

He isn't.

So he was basically left with two decisions: go to a basketball factory (like an Oak Hill Academy) and then spend a year a Louisville, where he is pretending to be a student athlete and watching white guys is suits line their pockets off of his ability; or go play pro ball in Europe, where he can make a good chuck of change, spend everyday going toe-to-toe with grown men his size, and spend every waking hour working on his game.

While I do believe this makes sense, both financially and from a basketball standpoint for Tyler, I wish there was some way to keep kids like Tyler and Jennings from heading overseas.

Because in reality, the only people truly getting hurt are college basketball fans.

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