With a couple of months left to go in most European basketball seasons, 18-year-old Jeremy Tyler is without a team and without defined plans for his future. He’s also now minus two agents.
Bernie Lee, one of Tyler’s legal representatives (and in fact the key player in negotiations with Maccabi Haifa, the club who signed the San Diego high school baller), has informed the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper that he will no longer represent Tyler.
“Jeremy has terminated Wasserman [Media Group],” explained Tyler. “I’m going to make the decision on my own to decline to work with Jeremy.” Sports agency Wasserman provided a second rep to Tyler beyond Lee’s independent representation.
Lee still managed to be publicly positive about the youngster, stating that “If Jeremy does the work, his potential and the things that are going to be open to him are limitless,” while parroting the common critique of Tyler, i.e. his lack of discipline, saying that Tyler “has to make the decision to do the work. I can send him anywhere in the world that he would want to go, but unless he understands what it takes on a day-to-day basis, it’s not going to matter.”
Over at the always-excellent Slam Online, Brose Baskets’ Casey Jacobsen writes that, though the situation seems bleak, “This Isn’t the End of Jeremy Tyler.” Of course, that’s not necessarily a good thing, what with Tyler’s rash decision to split town with only five weeks to go in the Israeli League regular season.
Saliently writes Jacobsen: “I’m not sure he thought his decision to quit all the way through. Had he consulted with his agent or Sonny Vaccaro [, he would have told Tyler] to just stick it out for five more weeks and then they could devise a new strategy this summer. But now he’s going to be stuck with these labels (Quitter, Immature, Selfish, Unprofessional) that can follow a guy for the rest of his career.”
Jacobsen also nails what will most likely be Tyler’s spot in sports history: “I guess he was a pioneer in some sense, though. Can you imagine any high school juniors even thinking about going overseas now?”
Meanwhile, back at the Union-Tribune, columnist Tim Sullivan opines that “Redemption [is] still possible for young Tyler.” Sullivan echoes the optimistic view on Tyler when he writes “That [Tyler] is returning home as a failed experiment is a blow to his image, but a comparative blip to his career. … When you’re 18 years old, nimble and 6-foot-11, opportunity does not end with the first setback. There will be other days for Jeremy Tyler, and many more dollars.”
That’s the rub now, innit? While Tyler doesn’t necessarily get a “do over” on this poorly chosen path, the fact remains that *he is 18 years old.* With his entire life in front of him and gobs of talent, we’d all like to think that Tyler can turn things around and disprove that old saw about youth being wasted on the young.
Tyler might yet prove an inspiration to many on and off the court. Of course, he could just as easily be ground up by the hungry hype machine and forgotten by the age of 20, destroyed in the pursuit of fame.
It’s all in young Jeremy Tyler’s hands, even when – especially when – the ball isn’t.