Well, it's official.
San Diego High's Jeremy Tyler (rising senior) shocked the world after becoming the first American born student athlete to leave high school to play professional ball overseas. That definitely surprised me to hear that. I originally read a story and saw a report of Tyler thinking about the move earlier this year.
The 6-foot-11, 260-pound baller announced in the spring that he was going to forgo his senior season at his prep school because it had become boring.
The whole time I was shaking my head, saying to myself, "This kid better not quit high school with only one year left." But news spread quickly when the 18-year-old kid from Cali signed a $140,000 contract to play pro ball with Maccabi Haifa weeks before the school year began. That's a team in the Israeli League. Tyler averaged 28.7 points per game as a junior.
"I think I made the right decision," Tyler told The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. "I think this team is a good fit for me and it's the right country. I feel good. I feel blessed. I got past the easy part. Now the hard part is to perform and show the world I got a contract for a reason. Now I can play against grown men."
That transition isn't as easy as some ballers may think. Former Oak Hill Academy baller Brandon Jennings found out last year when he signed with an overseas team after not academically qualifying to play for Arizona. His stats dropped tremendously overseas, compared the numbers he put up in high school. And, Jennings was considered to be the number one senior in his class.
So, it's simply hard for me to believe that some kid I hadn't really heard about until a couple months ago is ready to play pro ball after his 11th grade year in high school. I personally thought he should've just put up crazy numbers and perfected some things this year before jumping to the next level.
Plus, he's going to have to miss out on games like the McDonald's All-American game, the Jordan Classic and several of the other prestigious all-star games due to the fact that he's going to be a pro baller already.
It's completely his decision. And, his family seems to be with it. I only hope he didn't rush things by trying to get the MONEY too early.
"It's a huge step for him and his family and the things he's about to get into," Tyler's agent, former NBA player B.J. Armstrong told the Associated Press. "The basketball will be the easiest part in this equation. Now he's got to get things adjusted off the court to what a professional does, how he lives. It'll be a challenge. The rest will take care of itself."
Maccabi Haifa opens its season on Oct. 25.