With the 2008 NBA draft only a few days away, there has been plenty of talk about the NBA’s draft eligibility age requirements. The league's current rule requires players to be one year removed from high school graduation and at least age 19 in the calendar year of the draft to be eligible for selection. The latest news regarding the implications of this rule, however, seems to indicate that the newest path to the pros for top high school players might involve a passport rather than textbooks and a one-year campus stay.
Brandon Jennings, a 6-foot-2 point guard out of Oak Hill Academy who is ranked as the No. 1 player in the nation by scout.com, is considering eschewing his commitment to play at Arizona next season and instead spend a season playing professionally in Europe in preparation for entry into the 2009 NBA Draft. According to Andy Katz's report on ESPN.com, Jennings has had difficulty securing a standardized test score that will qualify him for admission to Arizona and is seriously exploring the possibility of a season in Europe.
Duke sophomore guard Nolan Smith played with Jennings for a season at Oak Hill, and when asked Monday if he had spoken to his former teammate about his future, Smith seemed to indicate that Jennings might not be bluffing on his plans to take his game abroad.
"I did talk to him last night after someone mentioned it to me,” said Smith, who will accompany best friend Michael Beasley in the green room of the NBA Draft Thursday night. “It is a possibility that he’ll go to Europe and stay over there for a year. He seemed excited about it. That’s a good experience, but I told him that he was going to miss the college life, but he can always go to a college campus and enjoy that every now and then. Europe would be cool.
“But definitely, he has to do what he has to do.”
--by Will Flaherty