Throughout Brandon Jennings’ outstanding debut season in the NBA, the first reaction among American audiences was one of high surprise enough to raise the question “Why was this guy drafted so low?”
After letting the B.J. effect sink in and watching the Milwaukee Bucks inexorable rise to contending playoff team, the question – especially as posed to BallinEurope – morphed into “How much did playing in Europe help this guy?”
Today, thanks to an interview with the former Lottomatica Roma player over at NBA Fanhouse, we get the answer right from the horse’s mouth. When prompted to “talk about your experience in Italy,” Jennings replies immediately:
“Well, I feel like Europe just helped me grow up. Just being around grown men every day and getting that experience to play professional basketball for a year. You have to grow up fast because you go over there and it’s just strictly basketball, so I was able to focus on basketball, and focus on all my goals, because to tell you the truth, I wasn’t planning on being there for a long time. I wanted to do my year and come back to the States and show how mature I got. [Sonny Vaccaro]’s been great to me. He’s a mentor to me, he helped me out with going overseas, you know he felt like Rome was the best place for me, and my family. It also was safe. When you go overseas, you always wanna be in the safe part.”
Indeed. The safe part.