A rumor flared up this week that Brandon Knight (PG/SG, 6’3″ , 2010), a Kentucky commit and almost certainly the starting PG for UK next season, might be considering a jump to Europe to play, ala Brandon Jennings.
The difference between Knight’s situation is twofold; one, it isn’t clear if Brandon Jennings actually opted to go pro because of the pay or because he couldn’t get the needed scholastic score to go into Arizona. There’s no indication that Knight is considering not enrolling at Kentucky for academic reasons.
Secondly, Jennings was more attractive as a point guard than Knight to pro teams. Jennings’ flashy style is exciting and pro teams in Europe were looking to land a player that might immediately draw fans, win or lose. Knight, although a good player as well, doesn’t have that same hype.
This does not mean that Knight couldn’t take the overseas route, but there’s one more key factor: Brandon Jennings experience in his year playing in Europe wasn’t great. He sat a lot and did not put up the numbers that were expected, and as a result, his draft status sank. It worked out for Jennings, who grew up quickly as he realized the difference between being a superstar high school recruit and just another pro player on a team of experienced vets.
Jennings treated his time in Italy as a professional, training daily to improve his shot, and approaching the game as he should. That, at least, is a benefit that has no doubt improved his chances for NBA success. After one season in Milwaukee, many people considered him to the be the rookie of the year.