Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 10:30 am  |  17 responses

Going Pro, Even Earlier than Before?

Age limit. What age limit?: “This year or next year, Vaccaro predicted, a player will turn pro and head to Europe after his junior year of high school. If that seems like one more sign of the basketball apocalypse, consider that many of the Europeans who populate NBA rosters began playing professionally as young as 14. In any case, Vaccaro believes Europe should be a destination only for exceptionally talented and relatively mature players. And Jennings has cautioned that his Italian sojourn hasn’t been one big scoop of gelato: ‘I don’t want anyone coming over here thinking it’s easy,’ he wrote on his Under Armour blog.” (Via: SbB)

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    guys this doesn’t surprise me. Rubio played as a teen, Drazen Petrovic played when he was like 15… And my friend and German cat Malte Kramer has been on USC Freiburg (pro team in his city) since he was 16. I honestly dont feel all that surprised by this. It happens in Europe all the time. And by the way, do people remember when LeBron James petitioned to be able to enter the NBA draft in his JUNIOR year of HS? That’s more newsworthy than this, but LBJ is untouchable so nobody mentions that.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    They forgot to mention that US players also have to get a passport, work visa, and learn a new language and culture. Sorry, I don’t see this happening.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    Just to be clear, junior high means middle school.

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    If Brandon goes top 3 in the draft, look out.

  • Prison Mike

    co-sign JE, that was the only reson i clicked on the story. i really thought they were gonna talk about an 8th grader.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Tony Parker was playing pro ball in France when he was 15, not that I think this is neccesarily a good idea, but I could see it happening.

  • http://www.alloutblitz.com cordeazy

    my little boy will be 3 in a week, getting him ready now! who wouldn’t want to spend High School in Italy?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    We need to change the headline on this pretty much immediately.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    That’s better.

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    If basketball was a predominantly white sport, there never would have been age restrictions to begin with. Just sayin.

  • Prison Mike

    I still can’t believe we need a “do not pick a 17 year old with your number 1 pick to save the franchise” rule.

  • http://www.myspace.com/brinaro22 Brina22

    @TADOne–the teams take care of the work visas…so that’s not an issue.

    i do agree though, adjusting to the culture is probably the biggest obstacle, second to the adjustment to the game itself…and playing against grown men who have been pros for many years.

    i’m sure Jennings has had an easier time with adjusting to life overseas since his family has made the trip with him to Rome.

    doubt we see any Americans turning pro to play overseas anytime soon, unless their parents are making a work-related move abroad first.

    and @ Mo Charlo–completely agree with you.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    hahaha, thanks Ryan.

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com NBA-JERSEY-KING

    speaking of Americans playing in Europe – how is Childress doing?

  • https://twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    I heard Candice Parker’s kid is entering the draft class as well. It’s over.

  • Nate James

    co sign mo charlo

  • L33tSauce

    I think its funny. This is caused by the fact the NBA is forcing kids to go to college.Let kids come out of high school, and yes, they don’t get a great education, but it’s their choice. Then kids wouldn’t be going to play europe ball. Think of guys who made the leap. Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone, KG, Kobe, J.O., Al Harrington, Rashard Lewis, Amare, Tyson Chandler, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard. You could kinda include Shawn Kemp, considering he never played a college game. I’d take any of them on my team.