Everything Is Going Just Great For Jeremy Tyler

November 9, 2009 – 6:53 pm by McD

jeremy-tyler

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.

Shocking.

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.

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  1. 8 Responses to “Everything Is Going Just Great For Jeremy Tyler”

  2. Football and basketball players should all be allowed to enter into professional leagues whenever they are capable of handling it. Minimum age requirements are entirely motivated by pro owners wanting to hedge the likelihood that young prospects will bust. They dont want to invest in players with huge risk and league officials support this because prospects with upside tying up roster spots dilutes the game and is less appealing to fans.

    That said, almost all other countries (and even some domestic leagues such as MLB) allow underage prospects to sign and develop. It is especially prevalent in Tennis and Soccer. People develop differently at different ages, and if a rare player has the talent to compensate for a lack of adult muscle definition, they should be able to play.

    By Dave on Nov 10, 2009

  3. Dave,
    It’s a quality of play issue. Not enough of those kids will be worth the investment they require entering the league.

    The NFL doesn’t have a minor leagues that a 16 year old kid can develop in. Neither does the NBA and both expect college sports to fulfill that need. Europe has specialized sports academies that serve as training grounds starting when kids are very, very young. They have developmental teams and leagues and programs etc etc etc.

    You’re basically asking the NBA and the NFL to spend a shit-ton of money on a minor league system, causing ticket prices to go up and creating tons of other economic issues that American pro teams aren’t prepared to deal with.

    By McD on Nov 10, 2009

  4. Yeah, back in November you boldly shat on Tyler for heading off to Israel to play professional basketball. Now, based on the first three months of a 17 year old’s professional career you’re ready to bask in your own smug wisdom. Interesting.

    First, back in April you were focused much more on your hatred of Sonny Vaccaro and AAU basketball than an analysis of Tyler’s decision. That seems to again be the case here, as you continue to talk out of both sides of your mouth about Tyler himself. You’re taking a victory lap but even you acknowledge that Tyler will likely succeed in skipping the NCAA/NBA route of “amateur” unpaid apprenticeship:

    “I have absolutely no doubt that Jeremy Tyler will get himself right and end up playing at a pretty high level.”

    So if this is true, then how on earth could Tyler’s decision also be an “impossibly dumb decision”? Tyler is making $140,000 to play in a tough professional league, he’s no doubt improving much more quickly than he would have while dominating at the American high school level, and he’s learning how to be a professional. Maccabi Haifa’s season started on October 25th. They have played a total of THREE games. Tyler will be NBA draft eligible in 2011. Let’s see how much he has earned by then and how his game has matured.

    You continue your defense of the NCAA-as-an-unpaid-minor-league post by writing:

    “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.”

    Well, lots of people used to have a big problem with the NFL’s draft policy. Some still do. Until quite recently no underclassmen at all were allowed into the league. Remember Herschel Walker? Barry Sanders? Walker went to the USFL rather than sitting around waiting to become draft eligible, and Sanders was among the handful of players in the late 1980s granted a “hardship” exception by the NFL to avoid a battle in court. The NFL’s policy did not permanently change until 1990, and even under the current policy requires that a player be three years out of high school before they can enter the draft. Mike Williams and Maurice Clarett recently sued unsuccessfully to have the policy nullified. The policy is designed to benefit the league, not the players. It always has been.

    You write in your comment above that the NFL and NBA expect college sports to act as a developmental/minor league for players, as though that is a fair and just system. It is a ridiculous, exploitive system, and it pours millions and millions of dollars into the colleges and professional franchises while giving nothing at all to the players.

    BTW, Brandon Jennings is the early front-runner for MBA rookie of the year. Clearly, his decision to earn a million dollars as a bench warmer in Europe for a year rather than starring for Arizona, sleeping with 22 year old “would-be baby mamas” (classy reference there!), and working on his jumper was an impossibly dumb decision, too.

    By Jeff on Nov 10, 2009

  5. It’s ridiculous and exploitative, but those leagues and franchises can’t afford to run a baseball or soccer-style minor league system. Hell, one economic downturn and suddenly we’re looking at one, maybe two NFL teams moving and a possible reduction in salary cap numbers for the NBA because of low ticket sales and profits.

    A minor league system would be great. Go ahead and create it. And then explain to all the kids who fail in that system, not the 5% that succeed, what they’re supposed to do with their lives without even a basic American education.

    And I bet Tyer will succeed, but my whole point is that this extra year in the pros is totally pointless. He could have stayed for his senior year, graduated high school like any idiot can, and THEN pull a Brandon Jennings. After all, Jennings benefitted a ton from that year. The extra one is just superfluous and a showcase for his immaturity and inability to handle basic things like, you know, graduating high school. This extra year just creates questions in the minds of scouts and GM’s.

    By McD on Nov 10, 2009

  6. I think Jeremy Tyler cost himself hundreds of thousands (if not millions)by not graduating highschool. If the man isn’t smart enough to get a diploma, how is he going to be smart enough to pick up an offense? Read plays on the fly? Intelligence isn’t everything to pro scouts, but, they’d like to at least know you aren’t going to poop your pants while drooling saliva when playing in the NBA.

    I would have had no issue had he waited a year and went pro in Israel. But not finishing highschool? That’s some red flags there

    By T-Bone on Nov 10, 2009

  7. “It’s ridiculous and exploitative, but those leagues and franchises can’t afford to run a baseball or soccer-style minor league system.”

    This is silliness. Make that sentence the headline of this post… it sums up your argument perfectly. YES, the current system is corrupt to its core. YES, players get basically robbed for several years if they ever want to play professional football or basketball in America. YES, the vast majority of professional sports league around the world have a minor league and/or developmental framework in place that is funded by the teams and leagues.

    But the NFL and NBA are so incredibly special and distinct that these two leagues alone are unable to afford such a thing. Also, these two leagues alone would leave young players in ruin if they actually established minor league systems.

    If the NFL and NBA actually needed to run a minor league system, of course they could afford to do so. They would do it because it made economic sense, not out of any sense of fairness. Our current system of forcing young players to toil for free (to them) and for profit (by others) allows the leagues to happily avoid this.

    Last, how in the world do you get from (1) acknowledging that Jennings’ year playing professionally in Europe was incredibly beneficial to him to (2) concluding that TWO years of a similar apprenticeship by Tyler is “superfluous” and will itself create questions about his maturity? Tyler is seventeen years old, living away from home in a foreign country for the first time, and he’s learning his trade. As I wrote above, Maccabi Haifa’s season started on October 25th. They have played a total of THREE games. Tyler will be NBA draft eligible in 2011. Let’s see how much he has earned by then and how his game has matured.

    And T-Bone, there is no evidence at all that Tyler “isn’t smart enough to get a diploma” or lacks intelligence. If a 17 year old senior in high school began playing professional golf or tennis, would you make similar comments? I truly doubt it.

    By Jeff on Nov 10, 2009

  8. The NFL and NBA do have developmental league, it’s called the NCAA.

    By Tom on Nov 10, 2009

  9. When you are playing at that level, you are putting your health on the line, and subsequently, your career on the line. Why should people be expected to do it for almost nothing while others reap the benefits. He made a smart decision to go play for money while he knows he can, and at a higher level of competition. He should develop his game and mentally mature faster than he would in high school.

    And to say that the NFL and NBA can’t run developmental leagues is just plain stupid. Most NHL teams have more than one.

    By Chris on Nov 11, 2009

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