By Mike Patton
NABJ Black News & Views
Jumping from the high school ranks to professional basketball was a phenomenon of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant would go on to become NBA legends after moving directly from high school to the professional ranks.
But eventually the NBA would change the rules and require young athletes to be one year removed from high school before going pro. Some went to college and then headed to the NBA, but others instead decided to head overseas.
One athlete who decided to play outside of the United States was Brandon Jennings. The point guard who everyone wanted out of high school decided to go to play in Europe, becoming the first high schooler to go straight to playing overseas out of high school. Once he completed his time there, he entered the 2009 NBA Draft and was picked 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. Some questioned his selection, but on November 14, 2009, Jennings showed why Bucks thought so highly of him.
Jennings scored 55 points against the Golden State Warriors, which was a Milwaukee Bucks record and was the second-highest point total by a rookie since Earl “The Pearl” Monroe when he scored 56 points in 1968.