(Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)
A lot of controversy and hype has recently been put in to the move that "ex" Arizona commit Brandon Jennings has made in going overseas to play in the Italian league for a year and then come back for the NBA Draft in 2009.
The move came as a reaction to the NCAA questioning his SAT score because the first time he took it, he did not qualify so he took it a second time. When his score jumped up an immense amount of points the NCAA stepped in.
Brandon Jennings says the first time he took it he was not taking it seriously and the second time taking the test he put effort into it.
Tell me who in their right mind would not take one of the most important test in their lives seriously, that could be the difference between being a number one draft pick or a number five pick.
Not a big deal until you put contract details and collective bargaining into it. So after the SAT mishap, Brandon Jennings signs with Lottomatica Virtus Roma of the Italian league.
The team has had numerous past and current NBA players on it, most notably George Gervin. So now Brandon Jennings is officially a history maker having become the first high school player to play professionally,(most notable high school player of course).
Do I think the decision of a young seventeen or eighteen year old kid to go overseas to play basketball is a good one? No, I don't simply because of maturity, its a new country, a new situation, a new set of rules as well as a whole different style of basketball that hes been accustomed too and also the type of basketball that doesn't relate to the NBA.
Do I think he will do good and put up numbers? Sure I do because hes a good ball player, while young, he can still put the ball in the hoop. Right now hes the second point guard on the depth chart behind Ibrahim Jaaber who most recently dominated the ivy league ranks at Penn University, where he put up 21 against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
So "BJ" is gonna have his work cut out for him because it wont be handed to him like he would have if he went to Arizona.
Do I think hes using this route as an "easy" way out?In a way yes. I call it easy because the "grind" wont be as tough because as a college student you have class, workouts, practice, team functions, and games. While overseas all he really has is practice and games, he really shouldn't be worried about the country too much because he should only be there to play basketball if he wants to get to the NBA.
Lets be real for a second, how come no one else has ever used overseas as an option? I can tell you why. Simply because the best competition you can have as a player is in the united states and in the NCAA. Its where you find yourself as a player, build your strengths and find your weaknesses.
All because he didn't want to take a simple test and play the "game" for one year. We didn't see Michael Beasley go overseas, we didn't see Kevin Durant go overseas and we didn't see Jrue Holiday go overseas, who I think is a much better player than "BJ" is.
They didn't go because you don't get half as much exposure or notoriety or competition as you would playing in the NCAA. Remember people YouTube does not count as notoriety or exposure because it wont capture his game as a whole, nor will it capture his personality.
Lastly, the NCAA isn't all about money (yes it is). Its also about tradition, legacy and history. Which, is something that he will miss out on. I say that because we seen Michael Jordan come of age in that 1984 tournament game against Georgetown, we seen Carmelo Anthony come in and take Syracuse to a championship in his first year, and just recently we seen young Stephen Curry cement his legacy at Davidson by taking them to the elite eight.
These are just a few examples of what "BJ" will be missing out on by going overseas. He will have no legacy, no story behind his name except that he was just a blue-chip prospect who "jumped ship" for one year only to come back.
The average "Joe the fan" will have never heard of Brandon Jennings until the NBA draft in 2009, if he is in it and to most Americans he will not be a role model whose parents who actually know that basketball isn't forever and an education is something you need.
Will this be a trend? It could be, all depends on how "BJ" does over there and how that affect his stock in the draft. I would hope that future High school ball players really evaluate their options before going overseas. Do you want to be remember as a college player or a high school player turned Euro-league second team player.