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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / December 14.
  • High School Junior Heading to the Pros; Dennis to Baylor; Slice to Kentucky?

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    In perhaps the most significant development on the basketball front since Kevin Garnett jumped from high school to the pros in 1995, Jeremy Tyler announced that he will skip his senior year — of high school — to play professionally in Europe.

    “This is what I want to do,” Tyler, a 6-foot-10 17-year-old from San Diego told The New York Times. “It will help me get better and grow up.”

    Projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Tyler had initially committed to Louisville but instead will play in Europe for the next two years to improve his level of play and maturity.

    He is working with grassroots sneaker czar Sonny Vaccaro to find the right spot for him in Europe, likely Spain. Vaccaro helped broker the $1.2 million deal that sent Brandon Jennings to Italy instead of college. Jennings is likely to be a lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Vaccaro said he’s uncertain how much Tyler will make but it’s more likely to be in the six-figure range.

    “It’s significant because it shows the curiosity for the American player just refusing to accept what he’s told he has to do,” Vaccaro told The Times. “We’re getting closer to the European reality of a professional at a young age. Basically, Jeremy Tyler is saying, ‘Why do I have to go to high school?’ ”

    Garnett’s move more than a decade ago paved the way for players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard to go straight from the preps to the pros. But when the NBA instituted an age limit of 19 in 2006, high schoolers could no longer go that route.

    The Tyler family will hire a professional sports agent and a financial planner, according to Yahoo! Sports. Tyler’s father, James, and his uncle will live with him so that he’s never alone.

    “It may not be the best way to get to the NBA, but it’s the best way to get ready for the NBA,” Jeremy Tyler told Yahoo! Sports this week.

    DENNIS TO BAYLOR

    Former Memphis commit Nolan Dennis won’t need to visit UConn this weekend because he committed to Baylor Wednesday night after Baylor coach Scott Drew visited the 6-5 shooting guard at his North Richland Hills, Texas school.

    “When I was there, I felt good chemistry with the team,” Dennis told Jerry Meyer of Rivals. “The coaching staff is great and the school is nice. From the gym to the locker rooms, it has the feel of a NBA team. I just had a really good feel about the situation there.”

    Dennis, who was released from his Letter of Intent, is the second former John Calipari recruit to switch allegiances since Calipari left for Kentucky. 6-10 center DeMarcus Cousins recently signed with Kentucky after making an oral commitment to Memphis. And 6-6 shooting guard Xavier Henry is expected to announce this morning that he will commit to Kansas after first signing with Memphis. Meyer also reports that Darnell Dodson, another Memphis commit, could end up on the wing at Kentucky now that Xavier Henry is headed to Kansas.

    FREE THROWS

    Calipari, Kansas coach Bill Self and Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel all attended an open gym Monday in Ames, Iowa to watch 2010 small forward Harrison Barnes, Meyer reported…Speaking of Calipari, check out this nice little $2.3 million house he’ll be living in at Kentucky…When he’s not at his new digs, Calipari is also going hard after uncommitted point guard John Wall, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009. Wall will visit Miami this weekend and told me he would try to cut his list next week.

    ROHRSSEN TO KENTUCKY?

    Sources say Manhattan coach Barry “Slice” Rohrssen is mulling a lucrative offer to become an assistant on Calipari’s staff at Kentucky, but Rohrssen said he’s happy at Manhattan.

    “I’m the head coach at Manhattan College and I”m very happy to be here,” Rohrssen said Thursday in a phone interview. “This is a very good place for me because it has excellent leadership, a great AD and it’s my hometown.”

    Rohrssen is a tremendous recruiter who helped bring many players to Pitt, including Chris Taft (Xaverian), Levance Fields (Xaverian), Carl Krauser (Notre Dame Academy), Ronald Ramon (All Hallows), Keith Benjamin (Mt. Vernon), Mark McCarroll (Christ the King), and Tyrell Biggs (Don Bosco Prep, N.J.).

    If Rohrssen does leave, look for Manhattan to make a major push for Louisville assistant Steve Masiello, who worked on Bobby Gonzalez’s staff at Manhattan. If Masiello doesn’t take it, Seton Hall assistant Dermon Player also knows the New York landscape as well as anyone.

    (Photo courtesy New York Times and Kelly Kline and Manhattan College)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • Wow, so much for the NBA’s stay in school campaign. Kids are gonna start dropping outta school like this guy.

    • I was just watching some footage of this guy online a couple days ago too, it’s ashame.

    • shame*

    • What a terrible decision.

    • I guess this means this kid was either not on track to graduate (because of the low value some of these familes assign to education for some of these kids) or he was an extreme hardship case.