Monday, June 23, 2008

The Gray Lady and I Have Similar Thoughts

Today William Rhoden had a piece in the New York Times about Brandon Jennings, a top high school prospect out of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. It seems Jennings, who has signed a letter of intent with the University of Arizona, is considering playing in Europe for a year or two before coming to the NBA. As you probably know, the minimum age to play in the NBA is 19 and the player must be one year out of high school. Players have primarily reacted by spending the transitional year playing college hoops. Prominent players in this years draft to spend only one year in college include Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, and Kevin Love (the first three of which or widely expected to go 1-2-3 in the draft). Rhoden's topic is the perfect compliment to my piece last week on the decisions of Juan Carlos Navarro and Tiago Splitter to play in Europe over the NBA.

Jennings' stated intention is to merely earn money and develop as a player so he can return to the NBA in the near future, rather than waste a year in college not making any money and being hamstrung by the NCAA's vast personal restrictions. But what happens if a European team offers him a considerable amount more than the NBA's maximum rookie contract allows for? Is he going to take less money to play in America? It will be very interesting to see how many players follow in his footsteps and whether financial considerations cause any young prospects to stay in Europe.

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