Saturday, May 2, 2009

San Diego's Tyler leaving school early to turn pro

Jeremy Tyler, a 6’11 center from San Diego, is leaving school a year early to turn pro.
I know what you’re thinking; this isn’t really headline breaking news, is it?

Here’s the kicker though, Jeremy Tyler is leaving HIGH SCHOOL a year early to turn pro. He’ll be playing overseas (reportedly somewhere in Spain) until he’s eligible for the NBA draft in 2011.

I’m sure that this is going to bring about a lot of discussion amongst sports talk show hosts and fans alike, especially those that don’t like players leaving school early for the fame and fortune of being a professional athlete.

Many players have skipped college altogether and entered the NBA straight out of high school. Players like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James have become stars in the league. They most definitely made the right choice for their career. Others have made the wrong choice. Players like Korleone Young, Leon Smith, and Taj McDavid listened to the wrong people and believed that they were ready for the NBA. These former high school stars are either out of the league or were never drafted at all.

A few years ago, the NBA instituted a rule stating that a player is not eligible for the NBA draft until he’s been out of high school for one year in hopes to avoid situations like Young, Smith, and McDavid’s. This rule brought many players to college that would have otherwise turned pro out of high school. Players like Greg Oden, OJ Mayo, and Derrick Rose all went to school for a year before they turned pro.

Brandon Jennings had a different idea. Jennings, one of the top high school players in the country last year, didn’t want to go to college. He wanted to be a professional basketball player. Instead of going to college for a year before he turned pro, Jennings signed a professional contract with a team in Europe. He has been playing over in Europe for the past year and will be eligible for the NBA draft this June.

Now Jeremy Tyler is following the same trail that Brandon Jennings blazed, only a year early. Tyler told the New York Times that he's making the move because he's too focused on getting better at basketball to spend time hitting the books, adding that "people look to college for more off-the-court stuff versus being in the gym and getting better."

I’ve got to say that I think that it’s a mistake for Tyler to be leaving high school a year early, but I’ve got no problem with him heading overseas to pursue a pro basketball career.

I never liked the rule that the NBA put in that required athlete’s to be out of high school for at least a year before they are eligible for the NBA draft. Players like Oden, Mayo, and Rose all in a sense took a scholarship away from a good student athlete that wanted to get their college education. These players more than likely took blow off classes during their first semester so that they could maintain their eligibility, and then stopped going to school altogether during the second semester because they knew that they were going to go pro.

At least in the Jennings and Tyler cases, they were honest enough to admit that they weren’t interested in a college education. They wanted to play professional basketball, and Europe offers them the chance to do that. They’ll still be learning, it will just be in a real world setting instead of a college classroom…just think of them as college exchange students who can dunk a basketball.

No comments: