Brandon Jennings To Play Overseas?

Did you hear the one about Brandon Jennings skipping college and playing professional basketball overseas for a year and then making himself eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft? No, this isn’t a joke…this is a true story and something that he’s considering. So much so that his family has hired an attorney should he decide to make this move. This all stems from two things; the first is that Jennings doesn’t agree with the NBA’s draft policy (he also feels that college athletes should be paid) and the second is his SAT scores. I think him playing ball overseas instead of attending Arizona in the fall sets a bad precedent should he actually go through with it.

I can understand his frustration with the NBA draft policy, but I personally feel like it’s actually a good thing. Look at what that policy did for the college game the last two years! If that rule wasn’t in place a lot of these young guys would’ve been playing sparingly on an NBA team instead of starring in college and raising their draft stock. In Jennings’ case, a year of school will help him because he really needs to get stronger. Look at what happened to Shaun Livingston. He was also a rail thin PG who jumped straight from preps to the pros and he’s been hurt from day one because he wasn’t ready physically even though he had the skills to compete at the pro level. And besides, it’s only a year! The NFL makes a kid wait 3 years before being able to apply for the draft. The only person who complained about that was Maurice Clarett and well, we all know how that turned out.

As far as his SAT scores..he’s already taken the test 3 times. The first time, acording to Jennings he didn’t even try (I think that says a lot about the kid right there). The second time he took the test he said he did try and he obviously got a much better score because it was red flagged as being too significant of a jump up from his first score, so he had to take the test again.

I know that some people will make the argument of how kids as old as 15 and 16 are allowed to play basketball professionally overseas, or how baseball players can go pro straight out of high school or how tennis players can play professionally at a young age, so why can’t a kid like Jennings have that option? I’m the wrong one to ask because I’m what you call a “purist”. I feel that the way the system is right now is in the best interest of the kid and college basketball. I know that there are some people out there who feel like the NCAA is nothing more than pimps who use these kids to generate revenues for themselves while offering the kid nothing in return. Hmmm, so I guess a free ride to school where the tuition is $20-$30K a year for a kid who isn’t an athlete isn’t enough. No, going to college doesn’t  necessarily guarantee that a kid will succeed at the pro level – hard work is the only thing that will guarantee that – but it does give the kid a chance to work on his game and put himself in position to be the best that he can be once he gets there. Some will argue that basketball is a business and this move by Jennings is a “business decision”…but I’m sure the people that make that argument don’t know that 90% of businesses fail in the first year. Good luck Brandon.


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