Last year, the sports world was agape and aghast upon hearing the news that prep basketball player Brandon Jennings was skipping college to ply his trade for bucks (Euros, whatever) in Europe for a year while awaiting draft eligibility. People said it was the end of pure innocent amateurism; that poor Jennings would miss out on The College Experience or any number of other illogical arguments.
(Jeremy Tyler, left, soon to be a globetrotter of a different sort.)
Unsurprisingly, however, Jennings’ situation was just the beginning. Now a high school player is taking things to the logical next step. That’s right. San Diego teenager Jeremy Tyler is thinking of going pro even before his high school days are over. Whatever happened to the innocent days of childhood?
Tyler, who already announced his decision to skip his senior year of high school, is in negotations with an Israeli team located in the city of Haifa. According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS:
“We’re pretty close,” said Sonny Vaccaro, the former shoe company executive who is advising Tyler and his family. “There’s no hurry. They don’t start playing until next December. He’s in good shape. We know we have something.”
Tyler would become the first American-born player to leave high school early to play professionally overseas. When he’s eligible for the NBA draft in 2011, some see him as a potential No. 1 pick overall.
Haifa representatives recently saw Tyler work out in Santa Monica and are negotiating with his agent, Arn Tellem.
Oh, of course Sonny Vaccaro is involved. Wherever the blurry boundaries of amateurism and basketball collide, Vaccaro cannot be close behind. Whether teenagers going pro is a good or bad thing is debatable - it happens in the rest of the world all the time. But it’s undeniable that at some point, the current old-fashioned model of amateur basketball is going to have to be revamped.