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Jeremy Tyler Grows Up

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Here's an interesting update on former Louisville-bound Jeremy Tyler.  After basically washing out in Israel, Tyler has taken advantage of a second chance in Japan. Coached by lifer Bob Hill and mentored by former NBA big man Robert Swift, Tyler has grown up.  But Hill hit on an important point when he said this:

“How can you send an 18-year-old to Israel by himself? First of all, the Israel league is good. There’s no way he was ready, especially if he didn’t have an American coach who could bring him along. I mean, they took him out of high school in his junior year. It was a disaster. He didn’t do well. He’s doing much better here than he did in Israel.”

We discussed this when he left: recruit Jeremy Tyler has tired of high school ball, has no interest in playing for Louisville anymore, and will instead take his act to Europe.

His family makes a reasonable argument for the move, with his father saying kids his age are heading to Iraq, so what’s the big deal about a job playing ball? Tyler says he’s not getting any better playing high school ball and he sees Europe as a chance to get better competition.

All fair. But as Brandon Jennings found out, assuming the responsibilities of manhood in a foreign culture isn’t as easy as it might seem, starting with getting your paycheck on time, but on to dozens of smaller issues, like adjusting to different foods and beverages to language and communicating with your teammates. Don’t underestimate that one. In the U.S., players generally understand the basketball culture the same way no matter where they’re from. For Americans abroad, it’s not the same thing at all. And while Tyler is no doubt gifted, he’s likely behind the European big men in some ways, too.

In short, while it might work out just great, it’s a lot for a high school kid to take on. Some of these guys may look like supermen, but at heart, they’re kids, and this is asking a lot of any kid.

Tyler will be eligible for the draft this summer.  Given his improvement in Japan and the weakness of this year's draft, he could go fairly high.  But now that it's over, would it have been easier to play for a year or two at Louisville, benefit from solid coaching, and enjoy a normal American kid's life?  Was the money worth the grinding up of his late adolescence?

Only he can answer, but the difficult experiences he went through should help anyone else think twice before listening to Sonny Vaccarro.

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