Starting a New Trend, Hurting NCAA Game?
Posted by r1zzo23 on June 30, 2008
Brandon Jennings, the #1 recruit in this year’s high school crop, has decided that he will be attending the University of Arizona for quite some time. That’s if he decides to attend college. Wildcat fans have been awaiting the next great guard to attend their school in Tucson. With studs like Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas and Andre Iguodala, Jennings was pegged as the next guard to carry this program. Now there are reports that his SAT scores could be holding him back from being eligible to attend college. This means instead of sitting around for a year schooling kids at the local park, Jennings could hone his skills overseas in Europe, assuming a squad would be willing to sign him to a one year deal.
This has been an option since David Stern introduced the rule forcing kids to be one year removed from their respective high school graduation, but no big name recruit has ever gone this route. If I’m not mistaken, OJ Mayo tossed around the idea of doing just this, but he ultimately led his USC team to the NCAA tournament, only to get ousted in the first round by Michael Beasley. Jennings would be the first top-tier talent to deny the NCAA of his incredible talents and take it to Europe.
In the words of Jennings, “it would take the perfect situation” for him to go to Europe and play. Assuming he would be eligible to attend school here in America, would it be beneficial to go to Europe instead? Of course the monetary gains would be greater than going to college (unless you take illegal benefits, then that could definitely be debated). The exposure a top player in the collegiate game would get here in the states far outweighs any exposure they would get overseas. Also, the hype around Jennings, or any prospect for that matter, would build much greater here at school rather than playing for a club team in Europe.
Ultimately, this kid is going to make his money in the NBA. He could hold off on his big pay day for one more year and go to school, but the threat of having a devastating injury that would derail his career is a very scary thought, so the lure of the loot is always calling these kids’ names. For the players that could have gone straight to the league from high school, college is just a formality that they have to go through. Europe at least gives them a taste of professional basketball while being paid for your talents. Apparently, Jennings feels he’s one of those kids that could have done without school as displayed by this quote: “Besides I was planning on one year at Arizona.”