Commentary

California coaches, players weigh in on Tyler's decision

Updated: April 27, 2009, 9:26 AM ET
By Ronnie Flores and Steve Brand | ESPNRISE.com

How do California's coaches and players feel about Jeremy Tyler's decision to skip his senior year of high school to play professionally in Europe? ESPNRISE.com found out:

"Well, I personally feel he could have waited one more year. He's obviously a talented player and if he wanted to play good competition, he could have got out of San Diego and played somewhere like Oak Hill or Findlay Prep. The people around him got a little money hungry, but that's common in this day and age and in this economy. But you can't do nothing but wish him the best."
-- California Div. V State Player of the Year Darius Morris, Windward School (Los Angeles)

"I'm more worried about what is going to happen to him off the court. He might do well on the court, but he's going to be playing with grown men that have their own families. Maybe that will be tough on him. … There is always life after basketball, that's one of the things I learned. I think he's taking a chance. On the other hand, sitting out was a great thing for me. After Marcus Williams was released [by the Golden State Warriors], he was my workout partner and I got in NBA-type workouts for two months. At the end of the day, you can't beat working out with older guys."
-- Jordan Brand All-American Jordan Hamilton, Dominguez (Compton, Calif.)

"I'm afraid he's going to be destroyed mentally and physically. He's going to want to quit quickly but there is no quitting. Listen, Tom Chambers, who had a pretty good NBA career, tried to play in Europe and they just beat him up, dragged him through the mud and he left after a while. Those guys over there are playing to feed their families. … If [Tyler] doesn't produce immediately, he'll go to the bench and maybe get 12 or 13 minutes a game. He'll get no coaching, they don't have time. If he plays for one of the top 15 teams, then European basketball is just a dash below the NBA, you saw that during the Olympic Games. He might have a better chance in the NBA because he'd at least get coaching and he'd be familiar with the game."
-- Brad Leaf, former European basketball player and current Foothills Christian High (El Cajon, Calif.) coach

"As old as I am, I still remember my senior year in high school. First of all, there is the sense of accomplishment of having graduated, of earning that diploma. He'll miss his homecoming, his prom, senior party -- all the fun things that come with your senior year. … Everybody I've heard talk about Jeremy playing in Europe has talked about his potential. Potential is meaningless in Europe. Either you produce or they get rid of you. It's dog eat dog over there, where he'll have to adjust to the language, the culture, the travel and the pressure. The real problem could be what happens if it doesn't work out. What if he's back in a couple of months? What does he have to fall back on? … Physically, I think he can handle it. He might be that one kid who could make it happen. A lot depends on the circle of people around him. They keep saying it's not about the money, but it is about the money. I've never had nor have I seen a player who I thought could play in Europe as a junior in high school."
-- El Camino High (Oceanside, Calif.) coach Ray Johnson

"I don't know about this, he should at least finish high school. Then he could go over there like Brandon Jennings. It's just too big of a jump. Mentally it's going to be very, very difficult. Your mind will take you further in life than your body, and what happens if it doesn't work out? They don't keep you if you don't produce like they want."
-- Gyno Pomare, the 2004 San Diego Section Player of the Year from El Camino (Calif.) High School

"Each case is different. A lot of kids come through the inner city where they just want to graduate from high school. No one should pass judgment because they don't know how it'll turn out. They predicted doom when Kevin Garnett went pro out of high school and look how that turned out. They're not going to pamper him in Europe like they would here. For that pro coach and his players, it's their living. The players are trying to feed their families."
-- Hoover (San Diego) coach Ollie Goulston