Will Aquille Carr Taking Brandon Jennings' Path to NBA Help or Hurt Draft Stock?
Just weeks ago, high school senior Aquille Carr appeared to be heading to Seton Hall to play for coach Kevin Willard and the Pirates.
And then he tweeted.
In less than 140 characters, Carr stunned the recruiting world when he hinted at the idea he'll be spending the next year overseas instead of New Jersey.
Carr was referring to the money he's supposedly being offered to play abroad. The NBA's age rule states that players must be 19 years old and one year removed from high school to be eligible for the draft, meaning you can spend that year doing whatever you want to do.
Most use that year to go to college. Some go to the Development League. Few go abroad.
Everyone has their own reasons for making the decisions that they do. According to Carr, he doesn't feel he's in a position to pass on the money.
As an outsider, I'm in no position to tell Carr what's best for him. I don't know his financial situation or his interests as a person. Besides, college isn't for everyone. I know a kid named Edwin that pledged my fraternity who can surely attest to that.
But I am in position to ponder the draft-day consequences of a decision that calls for bypassing school and playing abroad as a teenager.
And I can tell you this— it's won't help his NBA draft stock.
For starters, Carr is a 5'7'' point guard with more flash than a Ferrari. He's already at a disadvantage as an aspiring NBA player considering his size and reputation as someone who plays to the crowd instead of the score.
His quickness and skill level in high school are too overwhelming for helpless 17 and 18-year-old kids, which has made him a YouTube star over the past few years.
But the guys overseas aren't getting driven to the gym by their mothers. These are grown men—mean, tough, hairy, European men who don't care for young, arrogant ballers who dance around the court and dominate the ball.
You might recall Brandon Jennings going this route, choosing to play in Italy for a year as opposed to playing in college.
While abroad, Jennings played 17 minutes a night and averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 assists per game. And remember, Jennings was also the consensus No. 1- ranked point guard recruit coming out of high school.
Does Going Abroad Help or Hurt Carr's Draft Stock?
With a tough setting for scouts to evaluate in and a small sample size to study, Jennings' stock took a hit before he was ever able to boost it.
The 2009 NBA draft saw guards James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan all get taken ahead of Jennings, who ended up going No. 10 overall, much later than he was projected to go the summer before.
After being arrested last summer for assaulting the 27-year-old mother of his child, Carr already has enough challenges to overcome on his journey to the pros.
Unlike Jennings, Carr has something to prove at just 5'7'' with a questionable off-the-court track record. Jennings was a likely lottery pick whether he played in Arizona or Italy based on his upside as a prospect. Carr is just hoping to one day get an NBA training camp invite.
Recruiting analyst Evan Daniels of Scout.com shared his thoughts via Twitter:
Aquille Carr is a talent. Ranked No. 98 in the 2013 class. Going overseas? Better be serious money. Not sure that ends well.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDanielsFOX) March 12, 2013
Europe might actually be helpful for his development, but not his draft stock. These are two completely different arguments.
If Carr's goal is to reach the NBA and earn a guaranteed rookie contract, college is probably the safer route to travel.
However, if he's looking to start his career early, make a name for himself overseas and earn a few paychecks in the process, there's nothing wrong with that either.
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