Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jeremy Tyler heading to Maccabi Haifa?

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Jeremy Tyler's jump from high school to an overseas professional basketball league is progressing to the point that his agent is negotiating with a team in Haifa, Israel. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Tyler announced in late April that he was skipping his senior season at San Diego High to play overseas. He had hoped to be able to make a decision by Friday, his 18th birthday.

"We're pretty close," said Sonny Vaccaro, the former shoe company executive who is advising Tyler and his family. "There's no hurry. They don't start playing until next December. He's in good shape. We know we have something." Tyler would become the first American-born player to leave high school early to play professionally overseas. When he's eligible for the NBA draft in 2011, some see him as a potential No. 1 pick overall.

Haifa representatives recently saw Tyler work out in Santa Monica and are negotiating with his agent, Arn Tellem. Tellem, who's based in Los Angeles, didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Shortly after Tyler made his announcement, Vaccaro said eight teams from Europe, Israel and China had expressed interest. James Tyler said representatives from two Israeli teams and one from Rome have seen his son work out. A trip to work out for a team in Spain is on hold while Tellem negotiates with Haifa.

"There were five or six teams at one time that came rushing in trying to do a deal," James Tyler said. "I just prefer to have it over. I want him to start focusing. The good thing is, he'll have enough time to know what they're doing and start working on things they're going to be asking of him. I'm just tingling to see where he's at so he can start working on those things." Jeremy Tyler averaged 28.7 points during his junior season, but said high school ball had become boring. Some observers are against his move, but others, such as Hall of Famer and fellow San Diegan Bill Walton, have spoken out in support of Tyler.

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