SBD/Issue 56/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Brandon Jennings' Struggles In Italy May Impact Future Players

Jennings Averaging Just 4.9 PPG In Europe
When high school basketball player Brandon Jennings this summer elected to play professionally in Italy rather than in college, some observers "dubbed Jennings the pioneer of a new era," but a month into Jennings' "European experiment, the reverberations of said 'revolution' have given way to deafening silence," according to Barker Davis of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Jennings, who is averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 assists in 17.3 minutes per game for Italian club Lottomatica Roma, has "all but vanished from basketball's collective conscious." While Jennings is being "well-compensated for his spot duty," earning a reported $3M-plus this season from his contract and an endorsement deal with Under Armour, the "long-term wisdom of his career choice remains questionable." Jennings is expected to enter the '09 NBA Draft, and if he "slips below the lottery level," his experience playing in Europe could have a "profound impact on future prep superstars considering the most practical path to the NBA." If Jennings "falls out of the lottery by virtue of his season in Europe," then the NBA's age limit would have had its "intended impact -- protecting NBA franchises from making a mistake on a prospective draftee." That logic will be "reinforced if Jennings' stock continues to drop." Davis notes not only is the NBA "unlikely to drop the age requirement, it's likely to push for a second-season and 20-year-old age restriction in the next" CBA negotiations in 2011. NBA Commissioner David Stern, when asked if he was concerned about U.S. talent defecting to Europe, said, "We are not concerned. We are confident that the world's top young players will continue to choose to play in the NBA because of both the level of competition and because they can make more money in the NBA" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/4).

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