Former San Diego High School (San Diego, Calif.)
star Jeremy Tyler has signed to play for Tokyo Apache
of the Japan-BJ League after a failed stint in Israel last season.
Tyler, a 6-foot-10 forward with NBA-ready athleticism, left San Diego prior to his senior season of high school to begin a pro career with Maccabi Haifa in Israel, where he played in just 10 contests and was asked to leave before the end of the season.
Tokyo Apache was 22-30 last year with notable (cough) Americans like Michael Chappell, Rasheed Sparks and Jerrell Smith of California State-Dominguez fame leading the way.
The club recently hired former Knicks (interim), Pacers, Spurs and Sonics head coach Bob Hill.
Tyler would have been entering his freshman season at Louisville this fall had he maintained his commitment to Rick Pitino' s program. Tyler was well-compensated in Israel, but I still can't be convinced that this is a better route to the NBA than college.
According to reputable NBA Draft sites like DraftExpress.com, there is still plenty of interest from the NBA in Tyler despite the miserable rookie season in Israel. DraftExpress.com has him projected as a second-round pick in 2011.
Last week in Las Vegas, I broached the subject of playing in front of college head coaches to many of the players I talked to.
Most played it cool, suggesting or pretending that they didn't pay attention to the who's who of college basketball coaching that often lined the court.
Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution touched on that very topic today.
"We were all excited … it was like 'Can you believe that’s Roy Williams? And he’s going to watch us play?'"
That was the reaction of Columbia (Decatur, Ga.) rising junior Jarmal Reid after seeing Williams in Orlando. I had the same reaction after seeing him at Rancho High School in North Las Vegas last week, so the awe-factor isn't limited to teenagers.