Brandon Jennings: Top Prospect Eyes the European Side of Life

Matt SmithSenior Analyst IJune 23, 2008

A few weeks ago I wrote a story about how the number-one ranked point guard for next season, Brandon Jennings, was still ineligible to play at Arizona.

Well, on Thursday Jennings gets his SAT scores back, and many Arizona fans feel that that date will decide what Jennings does with his future.  But hold up Wildcat fans—Jennings' decision may not be as easy as black and white.

As reported by Gary Parrish on, Jennings is actually considering playing in Europe for his one-year-wait out of high school as mandated by the NBA.

It seems easy in theory, but before I read Jennings was thinking about doing it, I had never thought about making that transition before!

I believe it would be a benefit for both the NCAA and the players involved.  The NCAA would not have to worry about semi-pro athletes on campus with agents already in their pocket.

The O.J. Mayos would be a less frequent sight on campus, and the schools wouldn't have to worry as much if top prospects left the country instead of using their school as a springboard to success.

For the athlete, you wouldn't have to waste your time at a place you don't want to be while playing inferior competition that will not make you a better "prospect" at the next level.

You get to earn cash in Europe, learn the international game, which will help you both understand our game and your own skills and ability, and get to visit a beautiful continent in the meantime.

Sure, the NBA may suffer.  They won't get to see the prospect develop maybe as much as they should, but if the player is a top athlete, no one is going to forget about him in a year.

The move is risky, but if more players catch on to this idea, a new fad could develop and the NBA's one-and-done rule could backfire in their faces.

As long as the NBA is limiting options, amateur athletes are going to find other ways to get things done. 

If Jennings does decide to go to Europe, it could be a landmark decision not only affecting himself, but the dozens of other top athletes coming out of school each year deciding their amateur and professional futures.