Found this article from the NY Times that gives more insight into the groundbreaking decision that was made by high school talent, Brandon Jennings.
Open your eyes and get wise.
Brandon Jennings smiled Sunday afternoon when someone suggested that he might be considered a trendsetter.
If he makes good on a threat to go from high school to professional basketball in Europe, Jennings will become the first high school player to spurn college to go overseas and play professionally.
This is the latest — and most brilliant — plan yet to combat the three-tiered maneuver by the N.C.A.A., the N.B.A. and the players union to prevent talented high school players from going directly to the N.B.A.
The N.B.A. instituted an age limit of 19, and required that a player be at least a year removed from high school, as part of its collective bargaining agreement with the union. The N.C.A.A. didn’t protest, and why would it?
Under this arrangement, the great high school players have little choice but to do time in college for a season at a high-profile college. Kevin Love wound up at U.C.L.A., Michael Beasley at Kansas State, Derrick Rose at Memphis and O. J. Mayo at Southern California. All entered this week’s N.B.A. draft after one season in college.
Jennings, an 18-year-old from Los Angeles who played the last two seasons at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, signed a letter of intent to play at Arizona.
Jennings was pushed into action by the N.C.A.A. After doing poorly on his first standardized test, he did well on the second, but because of the difference in the scores, the testing service asked him to take the test a third time. He relented, but at that point Jennings decided that he was through with the N.C.A.A. Why jump through hoops to go to Arizona, endure the charade of an academic regimen, then switch into N.B.A. mode the instant the season is over?
The coach receives adulation, the university receives tournament money, the nonrevenue sports receive funding. What does an elite player get? An “extra benefit” could land the program on probation and have the player declared ineligible. You can’t say the player receives a free education because he is leaving after a year.
So Jennings surveyed the landscape and concluded it may make more sense to play professional basketball in Europe than to play semipro N.C.A.A. basketball free.
“It’ll be a good thing for the kids and a bad thing for the college coaches,” he said.
Jennings got the idea to go overseas when he heard Sonny Vaccaro discuss it on a radio program. “I told my mom that that was something we should look into, going overseas, it seems like a good idea,” said Jennings, who is playing in several tournaments in New York City this summer.
The prospect of recruiting great young N.B.A.-caliber stars may be compelling to European league teams that have mastered the techniques of the game but not necessarily how to play it with flair. They could learn much from players like Jennings, and Jennings would certainly learn from the older players, more than he would learn at Arizona.
“I think people just develop better over there,” he said. “You’re playing professional ball for a year, you’re playing against guys who are older than you. I’ll constantly be playing basketball 24-7. I don’t have to worry about school and things like that.”
On the surface, that sounds troubling. In reality, forcing talented players who otherwise would be drafted to spend a sham year in college does not advance higher education. The N.C.A.A., the N.B.A. and the union created a class of hired guns.
“For a person that plays ball, our dream is to get to the N.B.A.,” Jennings said. “College is like, O.K., we’ll do this one year, but our real mind-set is that we’re trying to get to the league, take care of our families. They’re making us do college so we feel like, Let’s do one year, go to class half the time.”
Jennings could play a role in redirecting the pipeline that carries N.B.A.-ready talent from high school to college, in which the best players are forced to mark time for a season. There are not many options.
What’ll it be: Spain or Paris, or Tucson? Being compensated —half a million to a million Euros, or receiving room, board, tuition and a telephone book of N.C.A.A. regulations?
He would come into the N.B.A. with money and maturity after having lived abroad for a season or two. This is true education, the kind of education an elite college basketball or football player will be hard pressed to receive inside forced study halls, where the primary objective is to stay eligible.
Which is the best choice? For a trendsetter, it’s pretty simple.