May 04, 2009

High School Star Drops Out to Play Internationally: Jeremy Tyler, a 7-foot-tall, 260-pound prep basketball phenom, is dropping out of San Diego High School before his senior year to play professionally in Europe or Asia. "If you have the talent and college won't do anything for your talent or your profession, there's no point to go," said Tyler, the first American prep to leave high school early to turn pro. "When there's an opportunity out of high school to go fulfill your dreams, then they shouldn't have taken away the option for you to go take it." ESPN's scouting report calls Tyler "an enormous talent that should project to the NBA level." The Nation, which doesn't weigh in on sports very often, opines, "given the fraudulent nature of the entire high-school-to-pro process, it's hard to get on the moral high horse about his decision." Tyler will be eligible for the NBA draft in 2011.

posted by rcade to basketball at 06:54 PM - 8 comments

I agree with the kid, at least regarding not wanting to go to college. Quite honestly, there is no absolute need to get a college degree, when one is concerning oneself with professional athletics. It'd be wise to at least get a high school diploma, though, so when he's washed up and 35, he won't be turned down for jobs because he doesn't even have that.

posted by CountSpatula at 07:00 PM on May 04, 2009

While I don't have a problem with this particular player's choice, I worry he might start a trend that is going to hurt more people than it helps, much like was the case with Kevin Garnett.

I've always thought that the optimal solution (if you could get the NBA Players' Union to go along with it, which you probably couldn't) would be to adopt the same system that hockey uses: when you draft a player, you have his rights for 3 years, and in the meantime, you can let him go play in college and let him improve there. You can then sign him anytime you feel he's ready. With this system, the LeBrons of the world can go to the NBA right away instead of spending two pointless years in college, while the Ndudi Ebi types (using a local example) can go to college and play instead of taking up space on an NBA bench. I would think this sort of thing would help both the NCAA and the NBA, except that it would make the draft a bit more boring.

posted by TheQatarian at 07:58 PM on May 04, 2009

Things to like about this include: the absence of a hometown posse lifestyle. I'm assuming he's not going to have the same type of entourage playing in a faraway place for six figures as he would playing here for giant money.

Also if he bears down and gets into the international game, when he comes back, he's going to be a savvy post passing monster. Maybe better than Walton or Sabonis were. I saw a little video of him. If he adds a post passing game to what he's already got, he's going to be a complete top level player.

What he'll miss overseas is the day in-day out physicality of US post play. You watch international ball and down low it often looks like too much Fred Astaire and not enough Maurice Lucas. God forbid he comes back flouncing around like Gasol and Divac. He'll need to show more firm footedness and toughness than that if he wants to play in LeBron's NBA.

It'll be interesting to see where he ends up playing next year. Wherever he goes he can always develop skills and interests that might come in handy down the road.

Fluency in street Italian in case he ends up having a frank exchange of views with Kobe late in the 4th quarter. A familiarity with Macedonian love poems in case he finds himself at a loss for words deep inside the Gold Club of Atlanta late at night. A love of tastefully presented uncooked seafood in case he happens to visit Hockeytown and takes in a Red Wings' game.

You just never know.

posted by beaverboard at 11:29 PM on May 04, 2009

Like many, I at first, was opposed to this decision. I have always believed in getting an education. The position presented in the article in The Nation has made me look at it in a different way. I don't necessarily agree when they say he doesn't need an high school education. If I am not mistaken, in tennis the teens need to have tutors with them on the tour. The system in the NBA is a bad one. There has to be a way if these kids go to college that they can get paid. I know some say they are getting paid by getting a free education. Ideally that would be the case, however in reality in most cases it just isn't happening. There is a part of me hoping Jeremy Tyler is successful and a part that hopes he is not. Perhaps some good will come of it and the flawed system can be fixed.

posted by soocher at 09:25 AM on May 05, 2009

bravo! I love this. It sound's like he'll get his high school diploma (from the first article: "Tyler is being home-schooled and will graduate early, his father said") and Instead of spending the next two years playing for the benefit of others, financially, he can get paid himself. The key, I think will be good advisers (imagine being suddenly immersed in a foreign culture at 18).

I do like the idea of some sort of minor league system, maybe even in cooperation with the NCAA, so that the OJ Mayos and Derrick Roses of the world don't have to pretend to be a college student for a year (really, they only pretend for a semester) in order to get paid for their talent.

posted by srw12 at 10:40 AM on May 05, 2009

I would not question this decision in the slightest. College basketball is great for mostly fans and the schools. I'm not convinced it has a great benefit to players other than the most highly touted. It's a joke - the system openly mocks the idea of an education and good players show up just enough to get one good tourney in and then they're gone.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:21 PM on May 05, 2009

Just a word of warning: for every Moses Malone (I'm really aging myself), there's a Bill Willoughby. LeBron and Kobe have been exceptions.

posted by jjzucal at 06:04 AM on May 06, 2009

College basketball is really a bigger farce than college football in regard to actually getting an education. A huge portion of their games are played when they should be in class. As a result, basketball players miss a big chunk of the fall and spring semesters. I have no idea what the quality of my education would have been under the circumstances, so what's the point. College will be there later if you decide you need it.

posted by bperk at 02:19 PM on May 06, 2009

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