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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Brandon Jennings: The Trendsetter

    Top-5 2009 prospect Renardo Sidney leaps over a defender in the Arizona Cactus Classic on May 10 in McKale Center. Sidney said it was a good move for Brandon Jennings to go to Europe but that hed never do the same.
    Top-5 2009 prospect Renardo Sidney leaps over a defender in the Arizona Cactus Classic on May 10 in McKale Center. Sidney said it was a good move for Brandon Jennings to go to Europe but that he’d never do the same.

    Brandon Jennings has always been a trendy person, but not so original.

    Until now.

    The tattoo across his back has been done before; his high-top hair cut he sported for the McDonald’s All-American game was stolen from 1980s hip-hop duo Kid N’ Play; and his between-the-legs crossover is courtesy of Tim Hardaway, who spent 14 seasons in the NBA.

    “”It’s the way to get ’em,”” Jennings says in a YouTube video in which he shows his dribbling skills. “”You gotta go between the legs and act like you’re going that way. Then you just cross over real fast. That’s the Tim Hardaway.””

    Jennings’ decision to play for a year in the professional ranks overseas rather than play for a major university program in America, however, makes him the first player of his caliber to do so. Originality at it’s best.

    According to Italian Web site basketcentral.it, Jennings has received an offer from Lottomatica Roma – which went 8-12 last season – for a contract that would bound him for more than a season. But the plan is for Jennings to spend a year overseas while he becomes eligible for the NBA draft (19 and a year out of high school). Jennings is expected to sign with a European-based agent, get an American-based marketing director for sneaker company deals and secure a contract with a European or Israeli team within the next two weeks, according to brandonjennings.net.

    Some think Jennings will be a trendsetter and top high school recruits in the future will forego a year in college in favor of experience and a paycheck in Europe while they wait to be eligible for the NBA draft.

    Los Angeles native Renardo Sidney, Rivals.com’s No. 4 player in the class of 2009, said in a phone interview that it’s not the case for him.

    “”That’s a good idea but I want to go to college,”” said Sidney, who lists Texas A&M, ASU, Memphis, USC and UCLA in his top college choices. “”I want to be a college student before I start the rest of my life. It’s a good idea but I don’t think it’s for me.

    “”Everything about college appeals to me,”” Sidney added. “”The college atmosphere is crazy. You’ve got to go to a school that has a great basketball program and has a lot of fans there. You want to get a rush every time you get out on the court. That’s what I’m looking forward to.””

    Jennings’ advisor, Kelly Williams, told CBS.com that the highly-touted Arizona recruit just wanted options. A large paycheck was an option.

    “”If he has the opportunity right now to make $800,000 from a team and get a shoe contract and make more than $1 million before he even goes into the draft, then why wouldn’t he do that?”” Williams asked.

    The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Sidney said Jennings’ decision to head overseas – even before the results of his third SAT exam were supposed to be released – was a good one for him.

    “”If he can’t get into school and he’s just going out there and making some money while he’s getting ready for the NBA, I think it was a great move,”” Sidney said. “”He’s playing some older guys. The type of player that Brandon is, I think he’s ready to play those older, more experienced guys.””

    Jennings and Sidney first met in the summer of 2006 when they played together for the SoCal All-Stars’ AAU team. And though they went on to play together at the Elite 24 All-Star game in New York last August, that first meeting made an everlasting impression with Sidney.

    “”He has a great personality, man,”” Sidney said of Jennings. “”He tries to make you feel like one of his brothers. When I first played with him he was the first guy to come up, shake my hand and introduce himself. He’s a very humble guy.””

    Jennings will undoubtedly lose the quality coaching that he would have received in college and may fall out of the American spotlight a bit. But Sidney said Jennings’ personality may influence other top prospects from America to play in Europe instead of at a major university in years to come.

    “”After Brandon does a year down there (in Europe) and he gets back and everybody asks how it was and he says it was good,”” Sidney said, “”then I think a lot of players will want to go down there and try to make them some money.””

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