Despite being one of the most intriguing signings ever in Israeli basketball, it still remains to be seen if Tyler will help Haifa on-court as much as he already has off it.
By ALLON SINAI
With the Israeli season not starting until October, basketball fans worldwide are going to have to wait a few more months to even begin to find out if Jeremy Tyler can live up to the hype.
However, the signing of the high school underclassman has already given Maccabi Haifa's American owner Jeffery Rosen something he has been craving for since he bought the club in 2007.
Even five consecutive Euroleague triumphs would have not gotten Rosen's Haifa the priceless publicity brought by the acquisition of Tyler.
Haifa is never going to be a household name in the United States, but the club garnered unprecedented international headlines for an Israeli basketball team on Wednesday after making the most of the unique opportunity presented by Tyler's extraordinary decision.
Greek giant Olympiakos forked out some $20 million to tempt the Atlanta Hawks' Josh Childress to Europe last summer, but Haifa had to spend just $140,000 on a one-year contract to bring in Tyler and create far more buzz.
Despite undoubtedly being one of the most intriguing signings ever in Israeli basketball, it still remains to be seen if Tyler, who will be eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft, where some see him as a top pick, will help Haifa on-court as much as he already has off it.
The physical attributes of the 2.11-meter, 118-kilo 18-year-old are clearly impressive, but even veteran American players need time to get accustomed to European basketball.
Lacking both professional and European experience, Tyler could well need several months before he finds his footing in Israel and begins to contribute significantly to the team.
Tyler's basketball skills at the professional level are still unproven, but Haifa has already got its money's worth in publicity, which may well have always been the motivation behind the signing of the San Diego High star.
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