UPDATE 7/9: Looks like it’s official. Brandon Jennings, the #1 recruit in the nation according to some publications, is taking his game to Europe next season before bolting the NBA.
“Over the course of the last two months I have consulted a number of people in basketball before coming to this decision,” Jennings said in a statement released through Valle. “I would like to thank the University of Arizona for their interest and support through this process.”
The entire situation was handled poorly by the NCAA, waiting and waiting to give Jennings his test scores while delaying his decision and surely frustrating Jennings and his family. Jennings’ agent says many European teams are interested in Jennings and he’ll surely find a home soon. Hopefully this doesn’t become a trend with top recruits skipping school to just play basketball, and some NCAA high-profile coaches insist that it won’t.
Doug Gottlieb says that the move will hurt Jennings draft stock.
The Arizona basketball team may have just lost their starting point guard, their #1 recruit and a key piece to a Pac 10 title.
Brandon Jennings, this year’s much bandied about recruit for the Wildcats, and ranked as the best freshman in the nation by Scout.com, has failed to achieve a qualifying score on his standardized test, according to the East Valley Tribune. Therefore, Jennings is ineligible to play college basketball in the 2008-09 season and, as he has discussed before publicly, may choose to compete professionally in Europe for one year until the next NBA Draft.
Jennings, who failed the test the first time and passed the second, could start a trend. Top high school players may now follow Jennings and receive payment in Europe without having to worry about classes. This greatly hurts the strength of college basketball having all of its top prospects compete at the college level.
Arizona fans can hold their breath, however. An Arizona spokesman has denied receiving the score, and both the Tuscon Citizen and Arizona Daily Star reported the scores have yet to be tallied for Jennings. ESPN picked up the story late last night on its bottom line, but it was quickly removed. As a college basketball fan, I hope the report is false and he passes.