No prospect in this year’s draft knows this better than point guard Brandon Jennings. Last year, Mr. Jennings was one of America’s best high-school point guards and the quintessential product of AAU. Rather than doing a one-year minimum stint in college before entering the NBA draft, he played a season in Italy where, he says, things were different.
In September, they retreated to an Italian mountain hideaway for two weeks and ran there, too. They practiced fundamentals and rarely scrimmaged. Coming from the AAU, this was new for Mr. Jennings, who averaged 5.5 points per game in limited minutes during the in Italy.
It was, he says, the most intense two weeks of his basketball life. If he’d never gone to Europe, he says, “I wouldn’t know the pick-and-roll game. I wouldn’t know how to guard, wouldn’t know how to fight through screens. I’m stronger now.”