Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bound for Europe

Los Angeles high schooler, most recently of Oak Hill in Virginia, Brandon Jennings has decided he's not going to go to Arizona to play basketball after all. After his second attempt at the SAT has been questioned by the NCAA and without waiting for the results of his third try, Jennings will be practicing his trade in Europe next year. With the NBA's one-year-out-of-high school rule preventing him from jumping straight to the league, Jennings will spend his one-year purgatory of sorts in Europe.

This is a great revelation. Rather than going to some military academy or post-high school school to pass the time, Jennings will get to earn a paycheck, live within another culture and hopefully be free of the ever-present entourages that so often destroy the credibility and decision making processes of young NBA players. He obviously won't stay for more than the required year, but it seems like a good decision for a kid that doesn't appear to be cut out for college anyway. Let's face it, if the NCAA is questioning your credentials as a minimum qualifier, and you're a huge basketball star, you probably aren't up to the task of completing a year at university.

No word yet on what team he might ultimately play with, but this seems to be a mature and thought out decision on the part of Jennings. It's also a possible plan for future high-profile players who don't really want to go to college and definitely don't want to go into the NBDL. Spending a year (or more) playing in cities like Madrid, Milan and other Euro powerhouses would give these kids experience playing with adults, opportunities to compete in hostile environments and possibly gain valuable minutes in clutch situations on a level much higher than in high school. I'm sure the NBA hates the idea of this as a possible way around the NBA age rule, but for the kids, it makes a lot of sense.

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