Why Jeremy Tyler Leaving High School Early Makes Sense

Why Jeremy Tyler, The Kid Who's Leaving High School Early To Go Pro In Europe, Is Making A Wise Decision.

4/23/09 in HS Basketball   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

I meant to write about this last night, before this hotlink went up. But whatever, here you go.

Jeremy Tyler is making a very smart decision to skip his senior year in high school to go play pro basketball in Europe. The reason why many of us think his decision is wrong though is because we here in the United States have always associated sports with education. You play a sport in high school, or on a club team, etc., which helps you get into college where you further your education while playing a sport. Sports then - for a number of people - becomes the vehicle for how you become educated.

For the majority of Americans out there, this is fine. I played a sport in college. Playing a sport helped me get into a better college. Playing a sport helped give me a better education.

But I also knew I would never be going pro in anything.

Tyler's completely different. He's part of the rare upper-echelon of athletes. And don't kid yourself here, Tyler's already projected as the #1 draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He's killing opponents on the high school basketball court. What in God's name will another year in high school do for his game? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

He's not leaving high school because he's stupid. He's not leaving high school early so his family can cash in on him (his family is well off). He's leaving high school early so he can hone his game in Europe and turn himself into the best damn basketball player he can be. And his family will be keeping a watchful eye on him. I should also note that he will be getting his GED while abroad too, so he's not totally ignoring his education.

Just think of it this way. If Tyler were a piano prodigy, or a computer whiz, would you have a problem with him skipping college so that he could play to packed concert halls or be hired by Microsoft? Probably not. Just consider Tyler to be a prodigy of another kind.

Let's also keep in mind that Ricky Rubio, who's about to be the #2 pick in this coming NBA Draft, spent his 2008 summer starting at point guard for Spain in the gold medal game against the United States, and played pretty damn well. He was 17 during that game.

Rubio became a pro at age 14. He's been getting paid to play as a pro, and he's been able to hone his skills to the point where he's one of the most coveted point guards to come out for the NBA Draft in years - and he's 18 for God's sake! So why aren't people up in arms about Rubio? Because in Europe, education and sports are completely separated from each other. I'm not saying the US has to do that, but it is a cleaner system.

What Tyler is smart enough to see is what we all should see if we look closely. For upper-echelon athletes, college is not for getting education. It's a minor league for pro sports - without pay.

Don't kid yourself. Did OJ Mayo go to USC for a year for an education? Did Derrick Rose go to Memphis for a year to get an education? No, these guys went to college because they had to under the NBA's age requirement, and also so they could showcase their skills for scouts on a large stage. The other problem is they had to do this for free.

David Stern is complicit in this as well. The NBA age limit is partly so that the NBA doesn't get extremely raw players coming into the league, but it's also to continue to use the NCAA as a free minor league. After all, having the NCAA (which is totally free) as your scouting ground, makes a lot more economic sense then setting up a minor league like pro baseball to develop talent.

Brandon Jennings, the super heralded point guard who decided to buck Stern's attempt to funnel players into college, spent a year abroad playing pro ball in Italy instead of going to college (he actually didn't have the grades to get into Arizona). He also had a strong family unit with him while he was abroad to keep him grounded. Jennings has already called his experience in Europe extremely valuable, and NBA pro scouts said they consider the time Jennings spent abroad to be more valuable then if he'd gone to college. He also got paid, well.

One has to understand that just because Tyler is going abroad, it won't destroy the relationship sports and education have in America. 99.9% of kids won't being doing what Tyler is doing. He is the rare exception who can do this, and he should.

Because for all of you who think this means this kid will never get an education, it doesn't mean that at all. Tyler is going to get paid to play. He'll easily have the ability to take his money and go to college when he chooses to.

And you can even go a step further here. He'll be better off if he tears his knee up while getting paid to play in Europe (he'll likely be earning several hundred thousand dollars) then he will be if he tears his knee up in a February game against Pitt. He can use the money he made to pay for his education.

I know Tyler's example might cause some kids to foolishly think they too can go to Europe, or that they don't need an education. But let's be realistic about this. For the majority of kids out there, this isn't a worry.

Tyler is a kid whose goal is to be the #1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He clearly has the talent to be that. I don't see how he's any different from the 14-year-old piano genius or the 16-year-old chessmaster. His education will always be there waiting for him when he wants to get it.
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4/25/09   |   sd_gangsta

(Edited by sd_gangsta)

if you went to school with Jeremy you would know why people didn't really care that he was leaving because he was a complete a**hole to everyone because he's "Jeremy Tyler"
he was smart basketball wise when it came to class either he was sleep or he wasn't there
he didn't even pass the CAHSEE so he wasn't even going to graduate
and for the peole that say he should have went to college all i have to say is wow if jeremy couldn't make it in high school what makes you think he'll make it in college
sure college will make him a better basketball player but he won't be able to play in a single game because of his grades
honestly he ain't even that good all he can do is dunk
and if you really knew him you'd know that he didn't even want to play basketball until he was in 7th grade
he wanted to play football but he was too tall becuase he was already 6'5 and growing
if they paid attention to the rest of the talent on the San Diego High School boys basketball team Jeremy would be just another tall black boy that can dunk

4/24/09   |   kwheels

if his pops is ok with it,who cares.how is this any different than any european kid doin tha same thing.those kids play professionally over there at like 14. and hey hes already gonna have a lil cash in his pocket by tha time he comes back to tha states. and will probably be way more mature than any freshman comin out of college when he gets to tha L. so u wouldnt have to worry about any off tha court issues.

4/23/09   |   aos035   |   68 respect

wait... Will he actually have the will to go to colledge after getting paid tons???

4/23/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

I saw Jeremy Tyler play 3 times in 2007-08...He was all right....  He was only a Sophomore and averaged 30 points 20 rebounds and 10 blocked shots over those 3 games... Last season, I only got to see him play once...He scored like 37 points and had like 25 rebounds...They stopped recording his rebound stats last season for some reason though...I think cause the rest of his team and the league would have been overshadowed.  He's around 6' 10" 250, and very graceful on the court. There is just no way he would have improved his game staying here in San Diego...He would have averaged like 45pts 30rebs, and 20 blocked shots per game. This is a very wise choice. It's not about the money at all.. This kid is phenomenal, and I thought we had him under the radar, but it looks like the World will get to know him now! Great article!!!!

4/23/09   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

Great Article! Glad to see someone gets it. This won't destroy college hoops, this won't mean that all of a sudden tons more people will drop out of HS to play pro in europe. This is just the exception to the rule and this exceptional young kid should take advantage. I know I would.

Plus, in europe he can drink. That's a plus right there. And you know he's gonna get laid like crazy over there too. So have fun kid!

4/23/09   |   MIKE!   |   41 respect

i have mixed emotions about this. i will know more about what i think about this decision when i know what he is going to do with his education. i believe it doesnt matter how good you are. there is absolutely NO reason not to get at LEAST a high school diploma. idk if i agree with him leaving to play pro's in other places, but who knows. i'm not in his shoes. i play basketball and i'm pretty good (Not as good as this kid though haha) but i know that i would love to play college and pro ball. now, i will prob play college ball somewhere but i highly highly doubt i will play pro ball. this kid has the talent to play pro ball and he wants to. i agree with this decision, but i dis-agree with his decision........

4/23/09   |   dwyermaker   |   39 respect

I think another issue is that there is too much value placed on getting diplomas and degrees as making someone "educated."  I think we underestimate the value of life education.  Honestly, I think it would have enriched my life more and I would have learned more at 17 or 18 to have spent my senior year of high school in Europe learning about other cultures and working with talented, experienced professionals rather than taking Calculus and worrying about GPA's and other artificial indications of becoming "educated."

4/23/09   |   Moon34

(Edited by Moon34)

good article, though i don't agree with his decision; I wish he'd at least get his high school diploma or GED

4/23/09   |   cyzygy11   |   2 respect

well, I agree with dwyrermaker on many points in what is a well-worded post,  but the idea of a college education, at least in my mind,  rests in the ideals of personal growth, education about  the world, proof of an ability to learn new concepts in a changing environment,  as well as foundational knowledge in a given field.  With respect to this young person, I think he's making a bold decision, and I hope it's a successful gambit. If he succeeds, it may signal a needed change in how b-ball players are developed, since the  NBA  is showing only a halfhearted-at-best attempt at developing a minor-league system. Changes need to be made.

4/23/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Well all I know is that there is someone on the JV team who will be happy, since there is a spot on Varsity now.

4/23/09   |   dwyermaker   |   39 respect

I couldn't agree more.  I just don't understand the problem with leaving high school early.  The idea of high school and college is to further yourself in your chosen profession.  If your chosen profession is basketball and you can not only go somewhere where you can improve your skill level, but also get paid, where is the problem?  Isn't that the essence of capitalism and the American Dream (which ironically for American professional basketball players under 19 leads them to Europe)?   I agree that in the U.S. we too often equate education and sports, but I also think we like to believe in this false sense of purity and innocence in amateur athletics, particularly high school sports. 

4/23/09   |   DigitalSquire   |   1 respect

WhoDat12 wrote:
If this works out for him, and others start to do this, this would be like giving the finger to the NBA's age limit.

Exactly ... the NBA will quickly find out they just made the European Leagues a whole lot better and worth watching. Guess it is easier to do this than start their own NBA minor league. Im guessing this could also happen in football with the CFL if the CFL is smart enough to do it.

4/23/09   |   brianmc0331   |   10 respect

great write up.....the kid will also be playing against better competition then he would in college should prime him for the NBA in a couple of years ...fact of the matter is you can always go to school ..get that money while it is available, he has a serious injury his senior year say goodbye to money and any scholarship hopes

4/23/09   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

If this works out for him, and others start to do this, this would be like giving the finger to the NBA's age limit.

4/23/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4214 respect

DigitalSquire wrote:
 Say goodbye to NCAA competitive basketball. It will turn into the D league.

NCAA will be fine.  Its only good when a whole bunch of guys stay 4 years anyway.  Otherwise its all over the map and you get crappy basketball.  The NCAA is only going to lose the very elite who would leave after a year anyway and the academically ineligible who we theoretically wouldn't see anyway.

4/23/09   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

JKB37 wrote:
My only issue is that I hope he gets his GED.  He is most likely a number 1 pick.  But say in the 2 years until then he blows out his knee.  Or God forbid needs micro fracture surgery.  It significanlty drops his draft stock.  Then were is he?  The plan has to go 100% accordingly for thing to work out for him.  Which I hope they do..  I don't care if he goes to college.  I just want to see him finish high school.  And that is the family plan.

I should add this into the post, but he will be getting his GED while abroad.

4/23/09   |   JKB37   |   2409 respect

P.S.  Great article.

4/23/09   |   DigitalSquire   |   1 respect

My only question is how good the coaching is over in Europe.  But does it matter as long as you get to play hoops and pocket the cash in case you get injured.

4/23/09   |   JKB37   |   2409 respect

My only issue is that I hope he gets his GED.  He is most likely a number 1 pick.  But say in the 2 years until then he blows out his knee.  Or God forbid needs micro fracture surgery.  It significanlty drops his draft stock.  Then were is he?  The plan has to go 100% accordingly for thing to work out for him.  Which I hope they do..  I don't care if he goes to college.  I just want to see him finish high school.  And that is the family plan.

4/23/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4214 respect

Here's the other awesome thing about this... Europe plays awesome basketball.  To have our big men and point guards trained in the European type of basketball is going to pay off with high entertainment when they come back to the NBA.

4/23/09   |   DigitalSquire   |   1 respect

 Say goodbye to NCAA competitive basketball. It will turn into the D league.