Jeremy Tyler to play pro basketball in Israel

The AP reports: Jeremy Tyler completed his jump from high school underclassman to pro basketball player on Wednesday when he signed a one-year, $140,000 contract with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League. Tyler, 18, is the first American-born player to leave high school early to play basketball professionally overseas. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Tyler announced in the spring that he was skipping his senior season at San Diego High because prep basketball had become boring.

The New York Times reports: The 6-foot-9 Tyler chose Haifa over offers from teams in Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia. Sonny Vaccaro, an adviser to Tyler, said that Tyler could have earned more money elsewhere but that Haifa offered English-speaking coaches and the best situation for playing time. “It feels good, but it doesn’t feel like mission accomplished,” Tyler, 18, said. “It feels good that I’m going to go over there and will become a better basketball player. I’m excited, anxious and ready. All of the above.” … He will be eligible for the N.B.A. draft in 2011, which means he will very likely play two years overseas. editor says: So instead of being surrounded by little kids on a HS basketball court, Tyler will make 140k and play with adults he can actually learn from. And then instead of being a college freshman a year later, he’ll probably do the same, perhaps for a bit more money. So he’ll have earned a quarter million dollars or so in two years before most players earn a penny (aside from the under the table stuff that just about every good young player gets). The thing is, I don’t think an overseas team is going to go out of their way to train him more than they would any other player, considering he’s only committed to be there for one year. Still, he should at least get way more out of being there for a year than he would as a HS senior.

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