Yahoo!’s (and fellow Indiana University alum) Eamonn Brennan posted recently on the first 100 days of Jeremy Tyler’s experience in professional basketball in Israel. To sum up: it’s not going well.
Back in April, when Tyler decided to forego his senior year of high school so he could turn pro early, I wrote this.
I basically said that Tyler and anyone who follows him is probably plenty good enough skill-wise to play professional basketball anywhere, but is nowhere near mature enough to handle all the other things that come with being a pro player. That and Sonny Vaccaro is pure evil.
Eighteen-year-old kids are just too young. It’s why the NBA doesn’t want them at that age and why all anyone can say about players at that point in their lives is about “potential” and “up-side.” Not even a 17-year-old LeBron James was a complete enough player. He sure as hell was at 18 though. But Jeremy Tyler is no LeBron James, and neither is anyone else.
It’s hard for people to deal with the reality that LeBron and not themselves or their children is the once-every-fifty-years-talent. Most young players of Tyler’s stature are spoon-fed the idea that they are the greatest player in the world and that no one can stop them. In truth, few at the high school level can. But that outsized image of themselves is something only an older man can learn. It’s a vital lesson the NBA expects college basketball and, more importantly, experience, to teach.
This is why his leaving high school was an impossibly dumb decision. Tyler is going to get it right sooner or later, but there’s no reason for him to go through this. He should be beginning his senior season of high school basketball, dating 22-year-old would-be baby mamas, and working on his jumper. Instead, he’s in Haifa, Israel, with no friends on the team, and fighting rumors that he’s fat, lazy, and full of himself.
Quite the impression in just 100 days of pro basketball and a totally unfair situation for a kid that age to be in.
I have absolutely no doubt that Jeremy Tyler will get himself right and end up playing at a pretty high level. And say what you want about the structure of basketball in America. That it’s a monopoly and it’s not fair to force kids to go to college for a year when they could play in the NBA right out of high school. Yet no one has a problem with this rule in college football because pretty much everyone can agree that high school football players and younger college players aren’t physically ready. Physical readiness isn’t an issue in basketball, but emotional and mental readiness is.
Jeremy Tyler isn’t ready, and there is absolutely no reason he should be trying to be. Good luck, son. And stay in school, kids.