With 2009 grinding to a close, it feels like an appropriate time to check in with one of the year’s top stories: namely, Jeremy Tyler’s progress in professional European basketball after foregoing his senior year of high school in San Diego, California.
So how are things going for the history-making teen? Slowly. In nine games with Maccabi Haifa, Tyler has pretty much received the playing time befitting a 18-year-old rookie, averaging just over seven minutes per game on the court. The young American has only seen 10 minutes of action in a game twice (one being the season opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv), equaling his DNPs for the season.
Even more unfortunately for Tyler, his shooting touch has been dismal in his limited time in shooting just 36.4% from the floor and 58.3% from the free-throw line. Whether the poor shooting is due to lack of playing time or vice versa is probably irrelevant and Tyler will have to solve his woes here quickly, particularly while contributing just 1.7 rebounds per game.
On the plus side, Maccabi Haifa is 7-2 and riding a six-game winning streak. Tyler contributed his best effort by far on December 19th against Hapoel Afula, the team’s last league game to date, with a line of six points, three rebounds and two blocks in just eight minutes of play.
Also on the positive – at least in terms of the medium-term NBA-making goal – was a recent CCTV news report on Tyler’s progress: This story has made it all the way to China! In contrast to the buzz-generating New York Times feature on Tyler’s quest run in November, the CCTV story portrays Tyler as making a concerted effort to contribute. Haifa head coach Avi Ashkenazi contributes a few sympathetic, if not praise-heaping, words on his much-scoped player.
(The English-language version of “Jeremy Tyler aims to get to the NBA” may be seen here. French-language version runs below.)
While one old saw states that “there is no such thing as bad publicity,” another proclaims “no news is good news.” If nothing else, Tyler has recently certainly been living up to both maxims to his benefit. While the early going in Israel was marred by cultural clashes and teammates’ disappointment in his work ethic, such controversy appears to have died down a bit, a situation that can only work to the young man’s benefit.
On BallinEurope’s part, we won’t throw in the towel on Tyler just yet. Despite the dark cloud overshadowing the Californian’s first 100 days of his life experience, this talent may yet shed the premature “Cautionary Tale” label before the end of 2010.
If only he can hit the 12-footer more often…