NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Tokyo Apache PF/C Jeremy Tyler
|06.01.11 at 2:48 pm ET|
WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).
Position: Power Forward/Center
Team: Tokyo Apache
Weight: 262 pounds
Stats: 9.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg
What he brings: It’s been a wild ride for a kid who’s only 19 years old. Tyler reneged on a commitment to play for Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville and signed with the Israeli league’s Maccabi Haifa for $140,000 — foregoing his senior year of high school. He then left Maccabi over a playing time dispute. From there, he signed in Japan to play for Bob Hill and the Tokyo Apache (if you’ll remember, Hill is the last man not named Gregg Popovich) to coach the Spurs .
Tyler is a project, no doubt, but it’s not like an American has never made the leap from overseas to the NBA (see: Jennings, Brandon). As a junior at California’s San Diego High, he averaged 28.7 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks per game, vaulting himself to a top-five national recruit ranking in the Class of 2010 alongside guys like Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Knight. Whether or not Tyler still belongs in that conversation depends on who you ask.
Athletic, physical, defensive-minded guys with top-five upside who are 6-foot-11 aren’t easy to find, so somebody will take a chance on him. Tyler is said to have matured as a result of Hill’s tutelage and his experience in Japan. That and his 7-foot-5 wingspan may have played his way into the first found at the recent NBA Draft Combine.
Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.
What they’re saying: “It’s a case-by-case basis. Some [overseas players] will be successful and others won’t. But Brandon Jennings didn’t hurt his draft stock at all. … I have a hard time with that because I believe people should have a right to earn a living. But if you’re not doing it for financial reasons, you should definitely go to college.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Notes: The trials and tribulations of Tyler are many. A Google search of “Jeremy Tyler” and “NBA” returns 89,900 results. But these three articles from The New York Times chronicle Tyler’s unique path better than most.