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Brandon Jennings


Brandon Jennings

Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings leads the pack at the McDonald's All American game in March. American audiences might not see another performance from the guard until he returns from Europe...

Getty Images / Jonathan Daniel


Brandon Jennings


Point Guard


Virtus Roma (Italy)








All signs pointed to Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings taking the torch from Derrick Rose and emerging as college basketball's next great point guard. He's got a list of honors and awards as long as your arm: McDonald's All American, Naismith Player of the Year, PARADE Player of the Year, EA Sports Player of the year, yadda yadda yadda. He's lightning-quick off the dribble and has tremendous athleticism -- but unlike most other guards his age, he really understands how to run an offense. He's not a undersized scoring guard or a "combo" -- he's a legit point.

Only one problem. Despite his commitment to Lute Olsen's Wildcats, Jennings isn't going to play for Arizona. Or any other college.

Instead, Jennings will become the first American high schooler who chooses a year in Europe over a year of NCAA hoops.

"Chooses" might be the wrong word. Jennings reportedly had a great deal of trouble getting a high enough score on standardized tests to insure eligibility as a freshman. Before the NBA prohibited high school seniors from entering the draft, Jennings likely would have made the jump directly to the pros. If he can't make the jump to the NBA... and test scores prevent him from playing in the NCAA... Europe became a perfectly reasonable option.

On July 16, Jennings signed a contract with Virtus Roma of Italy's top pro league worth an estimated $600,000.

Jennings had been expected to anchor an Arizona team that also features Chase Budinger -- one of the NCAA's top returning players -- and might have threatened UCLA's run of dominance atop the Pac-10.

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