Former Tokyo Apache forward/center Jeremy Tyler has a new home in northern California.
The San Diego native was selected 39th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in Thursday’s NBA Draft. The Golden State Warriors then acquired the pick, paying $2 million for him.
Tyler, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Tuesday, is the first player to leave the bj-league and then move on to the NBA. Former bj-league referee Tim Greene has worked in the NBA Development League and WNBA for the past few seasons.
On NBA.com‘s draft board Tyler is described this way: “Good strength and toughness; NBA-ready body.”
“He is a person of size both height and bulk,” Warriors executive vice president Larry Riley was quoted as saying on CSNBayArea.com. “He’s played a limited amount of basketball in terms of the professional game but he’s young.
“This is the kind of aggressive move we’re pleased to be able to make,” Riley added. “That’s a credit to ownership. We’re trying to improve this team in any way we can. . . . It will be a developmental process. I don’t know how quickly he’ll be able to perform in the NBA. But he’s an NBA talent. There will be an onus on him to go to work.”
The 208-cm Tyler will play for new head coach Mark Jackson, the longtime NBA point guard-turned analyst who is third all-time in assists and played in 15 postseasons.
The Warriors went 36-46 last season before firing Keith Smart. Jackson was given a three-year contract.
Tyler, who created a big media stir by skipping his senior year of high school to play professional basketball in Israel, was a project player for the Apache under ex-coach Bob Hill. He appeared in 33 of the Apache’s 34 games, averaging 9.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 15.4 minutes.
In the spring, Tyler continued his work with Hill in preparation for the draft. He worked out individually for nearly half of the league’s 30 teams and attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago in May.
After a 10-game stint with Maccabi Haifa in 2009-10 in which he quit the team, Tyler took the first step toward improving his image by playing for Tokyo.
Conor Neu, who served as the Apache general manager last season, had a role in introducing Tyler to Hill.
“Conor went to San Diego to watch Jeremy work out,” Hill recalled in an email on Friday. “He called me and said that he thought Jeremy was worth bringing to Dallas and working with him for a while to see if we thought he was worth maybe signing and taking him with us to Tokyo. At the beginning I didn’t think he was good enough but he continued to work and I became a fan of his.
“We had a scrimmage in July and he played really well against some very good competition. That’s when I made a commitment to him. I thought he could become an excellent player in time and I was willing to spend the time to help him get there. So in the end it was my decision, but Conor brought him to the table so it was a team effort.”