Most American basketball fans are used to seeing athletes leave college early to chase their dream of becoming a professional athlete. But never have we seen a kid skip senior year in high school to head for the pros.

That’s until California native Jeremy Tyler left San Diego High School a year early in 2009 to sign a $140,000 deal with the Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Super League. The 6-foot-11-inch power forward retracted his verbal commitment to Louisville University to become the first American-born player to leave high school early to play pro ball overseas.

His success in Israel was very limited. He returned two months before the season ended citing personal reasons; he averaged only 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.

But according to reports, Tyler is now ready to give international play another shot. The Tokyo Apache of Japan’s professional basketball league announced on its website that the 19-year-old, once considered a potential No. 1 NBA draft pick, will join its team under the leadership of former NBA coach Bob Hill.

“We are extremely excited for Jeremy to join our team in Tokyo,” the team said in a statement on its website. “His athleticism and size will be a major presence in our frontcourt this season.”

Tyler may be headed back overseas to play because he is no longer eligible to play college ball. His agent, Jonathan Givony, told Yahoo Sports earlier this year that Tyler prefers playing overseas as opposed to playing in an American D-League in preparation for eventually playing in the NBA.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor