Two years ago Jeremy Tyler become the first to leave high school after his junior year to go overseas and play professional basketball instead of playing in college. Tyler may have been first at doing that but to Louisville basketball fans he is just another “what if” scenario player.
Tyler gave Rick Pitino and Louisville a verbal commitment in October of 2008, picking the Cards over local schools UCLA and USC. Like many verbal junior commits lately though to Louisville, Tyler changed his mind. Just 5 months later Tyler would announce his decision to skip his senior year of high school and go to play professional basketball in Israel. Tyler signed with the Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Super League. After just playing in 10 games, averaging 2.1 points per game in just 7.6 minutes per game, Tyler quit the team due to frustration.
Still not able to enter the NBA draft, Tyler signed with the Tokyo Apache of Japan’s professional basketball league in July of 2010. He would show improvement and maturity in what would have been his freshman year in Japan. Playing in 33 games, he averaged 9.9 points on 51.7% shooting and 6.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.
Even after an improvement in attitude and stats in Japan, Tyler was still thought by many as at best a late second round pick in this years draft. Wasn’t until the NBA combine this past week that Tyler really begun to turn some heads. Tyler showed off his great athletic ability for a 6’11 255 pound center as well as a nice 20 foot jump shot. He has been moving up the mock drafts faster than any prospect on the board.
In a draft that is looked at as possibly the weakest in recent memory. A draft that I have seen at least seven overseas’ players thought to go in the first round. Tyler is becoming the rising star up the board. Still no sign of Terrence Jennings name though and that is enough to make Cardinal fans think “what if”.
Jeremy Tyler interview at NBA Combine this week