Staff sports columnist Johnny Goodman shares his opinion of high school basketball phenom Jeremy Tyler in today’s edition of The Soap Boxers.

This one does not star Chevy Chase … No, it is a different type of European Vacation for high school Junior Jeremy Tyler.

He has recently announced that he will not only forgo his Senior year of high school, but will forgo college as well.  Not in order to enter the NBA draft as so many before him have done.  Instead, Tyler will take his hardwood game to the courts of Europe, to play professional basketball. The goal: Hone his skills and in the process earn some money while improving his stock to make it someday in the NBA.

The 6’11” Junior from San Diego has caught a lot of heat for his decision to head overseas.  So why, when a basketball player chooses to play for money before the NBA says he should, does everyone have an opinion? (including yours truly) Because we are sports hungry fans of college football and basketball. We find it easy to pick on those who would prefer not to follow the “rules” and instead cash in on their success earlier and not later. After all he could be the player to get my club over the hump. Thirty- Five years of season tickets and not even an NCAA tourney win to show for it. What if he played for MY school?

I’ll bet you a grande latte that David Stern is worried about the precedent this might be setting.

Some sports, such as football, have clear rules that define the amount of “time” a player must be out of high school in order to compete in their leagues.  NFL football, however, is more of a monopoly.  It is a captive market whose success has not caught on world-wide.  You want to play Americanized football, you do it here in the USA, or play on the slightly weird field with slightly different rules north of the border in Canada.

Basketball is a totally different sport.  The success of the Olympic Games has brought a lot of attention to this sport around the globe in the last two decades.  The NBA is now full of stars from a variety of countries – it truly has become a “global sport”

So what if this young man was a golfer?  Or tennis player?  Bowler, skier, motocross rider, gymnast?  Would there be such an outcry?  Would anyone even really care? Would the media cover it at all?

Nope…..

It all comes down to one simple thing for all of us who are raising a stink about this Tyler’s decision.  Money.  Money for the media, money for a college somewhere in terms of ticket sales and concessions. Money for an agent down the road when he want to actually come to the NBA.

It is quite likely he will develop his skills more than he would with a year in high school where he is dominating his competition. He might even get quite a bit better playing against older, professional players in Europe.  Of course there is always the chance that he could be a bust along the likes of Darko Milicic and Michael Olowakandi

Who knows, the final result may eventually end up the same, even if he happened to go to college first…. but at least this way Tyler will get something while enjoying the culture of Europe.

Money… and a European Vacation.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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