He’s not being challenged on the court at the high school level, which means his skill set isn’t improving. After another year of triple-teams and constant fouling that will do nothing but improve his free throw shooting, Jeremy Tyler will be obligated to attend two semesters worth of classes in college. What’s the value in taking classes for one year when you know you’re not going to go work any further toward the degree because your future is on the court?
While we can see more athletes taking the Brandon Jennings route – Europe over JUCO when you aren’t likely to qualify – the guess here is that Tyler skipping his senior year in high school is an extremely rare exception. How many sophomores or juniors in high school definitely know they will play in the NBA? Most aren’t done growing at that age or are just coming into their own; at 6-foot-11 and 260, a scout told Dan Wetzel that Tyler could play in the league now.
“It’s just the old way of doing things and no one wants to swallow the pill of change,” James Tyler said. “Basketball is an American sport and they want the kids to go through the channels. And I think there is so much money generated in collegiate sports that they don’t want that interrupted. It’s a double standard.”
Of course, the big loser in all of this is college basketball. Another potential Big East star (at Louisville), who would have been ticketed for at least half a dozen National TV games and almost certainly a strong NCAA tournament run. Bummer.
But college hoops (for about 15 years now, or since KG and the big boys started skipping college) has become a guard’s game anyway – find a couple long, 6-foot-9-ish defensive/rebounding factors (Noah and Horford? Hansbrough and Thompson? Arthur and Jackson?), and surround them with a few good guards and a nice 6-foot-7 wing scorer, and bingo, you’ve got yourself a title contender.
You wonder if some parents will ponder taking their 6-foot-10 9th grader and moving to Europe. Look at the top 150 players in the class of 2009. The adjective most used to describe the tallest players? Developing. But is that even true? If you’re that tall throughout high school, how can you develop when you tower over the competition throughout your career? This isn’t football, where you can just hire a QB coach for top dollar and practice reps weekly year ’round. Europe might be the answer.
Basketball Prospect Leaving High School to Play in Europe (NY Times)