By now you are probably familiar with the headline history featuring Aquille Carr, the high school phenom set to make the jump from high school to play professionally in Europe.
The press has surrounded the 5-foot-6 guard over the last three years and ever since the Baltimore native was busy dropping 20 points, 10 assists and six steals on teams as a freshman at Patterson High. Carr averaged 32 points, six assists and five rebounds to lead Patterson (25-2) to Baltimore City and Class 4A North region titles and a trip to the state title game in 2010.
The following year, Carr was named the Baltimore Sun All-Metro boys basketball Player of the Year, the same year ESPN chose him as the 2011 High School Basketball Player of the Year.
Dubbed "Crimestopper" for his ability pack gyms around the city with highlight reel handles and mixtape moves, Carr would soon find himself on the other end of the law -- a headline the then 18-year old could have done without.
As Carr took care of his game on the floor, he committed a major personal foul away from the game.
In August, 2012, he was arrested on a domestic assault charge with his girlfriend and mother of his daughter. Three months later, Carr was called for traveling. First, he transferred to Arlington Country Day, in Jacksonville, Florida and then transferred back to Maryland with Princeton Day Academy for his final year of high school (there was also a brief stint at St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, New Jersey during his Patterson days).
Throughout it all, the diminutive yet electric guard was busy preparing to attend Seton Hall after verbally committing to the program, but that all changed one night this past March after Carr scored 52 points in a game for Princeton Day and the news about intending to play in Europe went viral.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to the dollars and cents of it all, as Carr received a taste of it from Italy in the Spring of 2011 when he was 17-years old and on a basketball tour. According to reports, the All-Metro Player of the Year was offered a $750,000 contract offer from Italian club Virtus Roma (the same club trendsetter Brandon Jennings played for) while Carr helped the U.S. Elite Select under-19 team capture the Junior International Tournament in Milan.
He turned it down then. But Carr isn't about to say "no" a second time around, particularly if the salary expectations are higher. It won't be much longer and Carr will be back in Italy. Will he find out then?
Multiple outlets reported this week that Carr has been invited to the Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, which will be held June 8-10. While there has been no confirmation from the event chairs that Carr will be in attendance, the three-day camp brings the best international talent together with former and current NBA coaches and players.
Back in 2008 as Carr was trying to figure out which high school he would eventually attend, Brandon Jennings headlined his recruiting class as an McDonald's All-American. But instead of hitting campus and the books (Jennings was to attend Arizona but didn't qualify) the lightening quick guard opted for Europe, signing a three-year deal (reportedly $1.65 million) with Virtus Roma.
During his lone year in Italy, Jennings averaged 5.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game (17 minutes per game, 27 games in Italian League), while shooting 48% from the field, 20.7% from 3-point and 65% FT. Those numbers stayed consistent with Jennings playing in 16 Euroleague games -- 7.6 points, 1.6 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game, and shooting 46% (FG), 27% (3-pt) and 77% (FT) in 19 minutes per game.
He parlayed those numbers into an NBA lottery pick in 2009 by the Milwaukee Bucks
Jennings was certainly a trail blazer and experienced a successful jump from high school to Europe and to the NBA, but that hasn't necessarily been the case with everyone. Case in point: Jeremy Tyler.
Tyler -- a 6-foot-10 and 250 pound power forward/center -- skipped his senior year in high school in 2009 to play professionally abroad and five months later signed a $140,000 deal with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Super League.
He lasted 10 games.
After averaging 2.1 points per game in 7.6 minutes played, Tyler (who spent this season in the D-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors) left the team and returned back to the States.
While the NBA requires players to be at least 19-years old and be one year removed from high school before entering the league, the fact is many of these young players who have or will be entertaining the same thoughts as Carr, Jennings and Tyler would truly benefit from the structure college basketball provides, both in regards to maturing on the floor and off. Because the truth is, the overseas game is never what some people believe it to be. Adjusting to changes culturally is one thing, but adapting to a new basketball system, national teammates, club rules and non-polished officiating is a completely different story.
This much is true: guys either grow up very fast that first season playing abroad (Jennings) or they bounce (Tyler).
It's that cut and dry.
That's one reality about Europe Aquille Carr should be aware of.