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Brandon Jennings

How Will Brandon Jennings Change the Basketball Landscape?

July 17, 2008 01:19 PM
by Denis Cummings
The high school point guard will play for an Italian pro team before entering the NBA Draft, avoiding college and leaving many wondering if others will follow his path.

30-Second Summary

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Jennings made his decision after failing to obtain a qualifying SAT score. He made it clear during the recruiting process that he was not interested in academics and was considering Europe regardless of whether he qualified.

Jennings would have entered himself in the NBA Draft but for a rule instituted by the NBA in 2005 stipulating that a player isn’t eligible until a year after he graduates high school. In the past three years, high school phenoms such as Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and O.J. Mayo have spent a year playing NCAA basketball before entering the draft.

During his year at college, Mayo allegedly accepted cash and gifts indirectly from a sports agent, a clear violation of NCAA rules. By playing in Europe, Jennings will be able to legally make money through a six-figure salary and a shoe contract potentially worth millions.

Experts are split on whether Jennings is making a wise choice. Some think he’s smart for taking the money and playing in a professional atmosphere, but others feel he may struggle in a foreign country and hurt his draft prospects.

Many younger players will be watching him to see how he fares. If his decision works out, there may be other players who follow his path. “This is unmistakably a groundbreaking decision,” Jennings advisor and former shoe company executive Sonny Vaccaro says—one that could have significant consequences for amateur and professional basketball in the United States.

Headline Link: Jennings heads for Europe, signs with Roman team

Background: NBA Draft eligibility and O.J. Mayo

Reactions: Olson blames NBA rule

Opinion & Analysis: What are the consequences of Jennings’s decision?

Others will follow Jennings to Europe
Jennings will cost himself money in the future
Jennings exposes NCAA hypocrisy
High school, college and pro basketball may be hurt

Related Topics: Draft rules in other sports

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