The Downfall of Prep Basketball

Jarred PowellCorrespondent IMay 19, 2009

Jeremy Tyler, a big man from San Diego who is regarded as the the top player in his class, will skip his upcoming senior season for greener pastures in Europe. What makes this significant is that he's a junior so he's going to drop out of high school and get his GED online.

This brings me to my point of how far high school sports has fallen. It all changed when Kevin Garnett decided to forgo college and go pro. That opened the door for others to follow suit. Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Tracy McGrady and LeBron James, to name a few. 

Then Brandon Jennings, a point guard who was the number one player in his class two years ago, took it a step further when he skipped college to go play in Europe. 

I can't speak of the earlier editions but this all has ties to one man who has admitted that he created a monster, Sonny Vaccaro.  Vaccaro is best known for his work as a sneaker dealer for Nike and signing Michael Jordan to his sneaker deal. He has also worked for Adidas and Reebok respectively and cofounded the first national high school all star game.

Thing with Vaccaro is that he's good for planting a seed.  He did it with Nike, watching "Air Jordan" grow to the success it's had. He's done it with everything he has touched with preps as well. He planted the seed in Jennings and Tyler's mind to go to Europe and look at them now.

Jennings is struggling playing with Europeans and his draft status is dropping. Tyler is big but he isn't what I would consider a manchild. From a prep standpoint, the only manchild type players I have ever seen have been Corliss Williamson, Amare Stoudamire and the fullest, Chris Webber.

I know people reading this will say Shaq, but look at him in the McDonalds game as an 18-year-old. He looks like a boy still. Webber looked like he was 26.

Tyler is 6'11" and is listed at 260 but looks more like 230. He played on a mediocre team that was 15-11 last season. His body can use some development and his skills some polishing. Vaccaro got in his dads ear and aided the family in this decision.

Jennings's family is with him in Europe and his brother's education is paid for by the team. However, he practices twice a day sometimes and has only gotten paid once on time. He hasn't even played at all in some of his games.

Tyler is gonna to have to go through this as well as going to have to get beat up by grown men that have to feed their families, not to mention he will have to get his education at the same time.

No one can take what's in your head and it's wrong for coaches to take advantage of athletes for physical gifts in exchange for wealth and glory. This is on another level though. Tyler is basically saying, "Why do I need school?"

From a college standpoint?  Maybe, maybe not. From a high school standpoint, you need to at least know the basics to get you by. There isn't anything saying that you're going to be a superstar.

The sad thing is that his parents are buying into it. They're showing how greedy they are about their child playing professional ball.

Bobby Knight said it best that going to the NBA is hurting the college game. However, now going to Europe is hurting the high school game and that's sad because you're truly dealing with kids that don't know squat. In this case your, neither do the parents for letting the child do it...