So is it safe to move on from the Pitino-Sypher saga now? Slowly backing away from the wreckage…
One other piece of news that was released today involved Jeremy Tyler, the 11th-grader from San Diego who decided that playing with high school kids was no longer a sufficient challenge for him. Having surmised that playing ball in Europe would improve his game and allow him to cash a paycheck in the process, he signed today with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League. He’ll earn $140k next season along with the standard housing, auto and airfare allowances made by most European teams, and he supposedly picked the team based on its availability of playing time and the fact that they speak English.
It seems a decent deal for a kid who otherwise would be playing his senior season for free at San Diego High, but the real question is whether this foray to Israel will actually help his case when it comes time for the NBA Draft in two years. The word on his game is that he is extremely raw and not nearly as far along as Brandon Jennings was when he went to Europe last year, but big men are notoriously slower to develop and it’s not like Jennings set Europe on fire yet he was still drafted in the lottery. Of course, Jennings was also the RSCI #1 player in his class, whereas Tyler is more of a mid-teens level of prospect.
Ultimately, it will come down to whether Tyler shows a natural progression over the next two seasons overseas. There’s no guarantee when it comes to the NBA Draft for any prospect, but there seems to be a strong correlation between HS ratings and draft placement regardless of collegiate output. From Gerald Wallace to Jrue Holiday, there are many examples of this. Having never seen Tyler’s game, he may blossom in Israel and put himself in great position for 2011; but we feel that it’s equally likely that he’ll crash and burn, lose focus and never sniff the draft. We’ll definitely keep an eye on his progress during the coming season (and we assuredly won’t be the only ones).